UPDATE 1-Countrywide accepts Connells second sweetened buyout offer

(Adds premium, Countrywide comment, details)

Dec 31 (Reuters) - Real estate agent Countrywide said on Thursday it had agreed to Connells Ltd’s sweetened buyout proposal after the realty management firm raised its offer for the second time, outbidding private equity firm Alchemy.

The offer of 395 pence per share, revised from the initial proposal of 250 pence a share, gives the British company an enterprise value of about 223.1 million pounds ($304.06 million).

The all-cash offer represents a premium of 14% to Countrywide stock’s last close on Wednesday. Shares in the company jumped 12.6% to 389.6 pence in early trade.

“We have been encouraged by their (Connells’) recognition of the need to put in place a sustainable capital structure and a willingness to support the company, which is a great business that has been constrained by too much debt,” Countrywide’s acting non-executive chairman, David Watson, said.

Countrywide, which rejected Connells’ initial approach last month, has been struggling to recover from a botched 2015 restructuring that led to several profit warnings and a deeply discounted share issue.

Bedfordshire-based Connells raised the bid to 325 pence per share earlier this month, prompting Countrywide to evaluate the offer.

Alchemy had earlier approached Countrywide with an offer for its existing investors to sell their shares at 250 pence apiece and a 70-million-pound recapitalisation plan.

Alchemy did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for a comment.

$1 = 0.7337 pounds Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi