Countrywide buyout takes another twist

US hedge fund Polygon Investment Partners has reportedly increased its stake in UK estate agency Countrywide from 14.6 percent to 22.7 percent, threatening Apollo’s proposed take private of the company.

Polygon Investment Partners, an activist US hedge fund, has upped its stake in London-listed Countrywide from 14.6 percent to 22.7 percent, according to media reports.


The hedge fund increased its stake by buying Artisan Partners’ 8.7 percent stake, according to Reuters.


US private equity firm Apollo Management bid £1 billion, or 590p a share, for the company in February.


Countrywide shareholders, who rejected a £590 million (570p a share) bid from 3i in January, are scheduled to vote on Apollo’s offer on April 13.


Polygon’s new stake would probably be enough to vote down Apollo’s bid, as the proposed take-private of Countrywide requires approval from 75 percent of the company’s shareholders.


Countrywide operates 1,170 estate agency offices and its investors include Standard Life and Prudential.