Lenders to Countrywide, Britain’s biggest estate agency group, are lining up advisers to oversee a restructuring of the company as the slump in the housing market deepens.

Senior creditors of the company, which is owned by the private equity firm Apollo Management, are understood to have approached a string of advisory firms to help devise plans that may include a significant overhaul of Countrywide’s capital structure.

Apollo, which is run by Leon Black, paid about £1bn for Countrywide in May 2007 just as the decade-long boom in house prices was approaching its peak. The firm bought Countrywide after winning a battle for the group with rival private equity group 3i.

Countrywide is twice as big as Connells, its largest rival in the UK, and has already cut more than 1,500 jobs.

Sunday Telegraph