Alts. Firms Agree To Countywide Capital Infusion

Feb 19 2009 | 12:57am ET

A quartet of alternative investment firms has agreed to pour £75 million (US$106.4 million) into Britain’s largest realtor.

The capital infusion will allow Countrywide to cut its annual interest payments in half and its debt burden by almost a quarter. The realtor’s bondholders will take a 40% stake in Countrywide in exchange.

The other 60% of Countrywide will be held by four alternatives shops, including current owner Apollo Management, which paid £1.1 billion (US$1.6 billion) for the company in 2007. Since then, it has struggled with the decline of the housing market, leaving it with “unsustainable” levels of debt.

Joining Apollo as co-owners will be Alchemy Special Opportunities, Oaktree Capital Management and Polygon Investment Management.

“This is more about getting the correct capital structure in the next few years given the state of the wider market, particularly the mortgage market,” Countrywide CFO Jim Clarke said. The company said it has already received the support of more than half of its bondholders for the deal; it needs 75%.

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