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Industry speculation grows over possible merger of major agencies

Speculation continues to grow within the industry over a potential merger involving Connells and the newly-combined agencies of Leaders and Romans.

Connells has told Estate Agent Today that it firmly denies the speculation, which has existed in the agency industry for some weeks. 

However Peter Loverdos, the chief operating officer of Property Services Holdings - the parent company of Romans and Leaders since their merger into a ‘super-agency’ in March - has simply told EAT that the company will not comment on “industry rumours”.

Estate Agent Today has also spoken with Bowmark Capital, which backs both Romans and Leaders and which announced their merger in the spring. A spokeswoman for Bowmark was asked explicitly if she wished to deny the speculation but instead said the firm was declining to comment.

Leaders and Romans have a combined total of over 140 branches and revenues of over £100m.

Property Services Holdings is led by joint chief executives Paul Weller (of Leaders) and Peter Coles (of Romans).

Adrian Gill, outgoing executive director of estate agency at LSLi - owner of Your Move, Reeds Rains and Marsh & Parsons - is joining Property Services Holdings in the future, thought to be early in 2017.

Meanwhile Connells Group - which has told EAT that it “isn’t merging with Property Services Holdings or any other organisation associated with Romans/Leaders” - recently gave its half year results to the City.

It posted an increase in pre-tax profits from January to June 2016 of 15 per cent, making £31.3m, up from £27.3m for the same period last year.

Connells Group, owned by Skipton Building Society, grew its sales and letting agency division during that period through a series of acquisitions including Rook Matthews Sayer in the north of England and the Paul Dubberley independent which it purchased from investment company Bond Wolfe.  

In its results, Connells Group said it would be continuing to expand and acquire, despite incurring market uncertainty in some areas following the Brexit vote.

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