The company owning Birmingham's Mailbox shopping centre will begin trading shares later this month as the first company admitted to the 'International Property Securities Exchange' (ISPX), the London-based exchange (recognised by the FCA) designed to facilitate the IPO and market trading of companies owning single, institutional-grade real estate assets.

The IPSX allows individual retail investors to own and trade shares directly in real estate assets in a manner that IPSX hope will increase flexibility, liquidity and transparency in the market.  Investors can buy and sell shares in IPSX listed companies in the same they would with a FTSE 100 company, which is intended to create a more dynamic marketplace, in contrast to traditional real-estate funds, where investors have found themselves prevented from withdrawing their investments at various points over the last few years. 

M7 Real Estate (a 15% shareholder in the IPSX platform) acquired Birmingham's landmark Mailbox site in late 2019 for around £190m and are looking to raise around £62.5m from the sale of shares in Mailbox REIT PLC, the single-asset company which owns the 700,000 sq ft mixed-use site.  Amongst other things, the flotation will facilitate the conversion of retail space site into around 50,000 sq ft of new offices.

This IPO represents an interesting test case for the industry to see whether there is appetite in the market for the ability to buy shares directly in investment grade real estate assets (as opposed to such assets remaining the sole preserve of major asset managers and pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and private equity groups). 

In a few short weeks time, we will find out - the answer is in the Mail(box).