Experian in line for share of mortgage broker group
CREDIT checking agency Experian is eyeing up a slice of London & Country Mortgages as the firm tries to sell a chunk of itself ahead of a potential float which could be worth up to £300m, sources said.
Britain’s biggest fee-free mortgage broker, appointed advisers last year to run a twin-track sales process.
It later decided to abandon a full sale and instead seek out a minority investor to snap up around 25pc of the business before it pursues a float.
Experian is now the front-runner for the mandate, people close to the talks said, with private equity firm Corsair Capital no longer in the running.
Spokesmen for Experian, Corsair and London & Country declined to comment.
A part sale or float will give chairman Michael Edge, who owns almost 70pc of the business, his second major payday after he collected around £50m from the sale of Chase de Vere Investments to Bank of Ireland in 2000.
It is not clear when Experian came into the bidding process, nor when a deal is expected to close.
Corsair got close to finalising a deal earlier this year, but has now left the process due to the “usual combination of valuation and execution,” a source said.
London and Country’s most recent accounts, for the year to Dec 31, show that its revenues grew 25pc on the previous year to £44m while profit before tax climbed 14pc to £9.5m.
The company has been on a promotional drive since January, when it launched a TV advert comparing choosing a mortgage to buying a cake.
“L&C is one of the UK’S best-kept secrets but that’s about to change,” the firm wrote on the advert’s Youtube page.
The group, which has offices in Bath, Newcastle and London, is still looking for an executive chairman with experience in listed companies to guide the business through a potential IPO.