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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

15-branch agency rejoins ZPG as analysts slate OnTheMarket

The 15-branch Henry Adams agency has signed up to ZPG, just the day after the portal group said it had seen over 1,000 branches return to its fold from OnTheMarket.

Henry Adams operates across West Sussex and into Hampshire and Surrey.

“We’re very pleased to be back with ZPG. It is clear to us that ZPG offers a compelling proposition for anyone who is serious about selling" says Philip Jordan, Henry Adams' chief executive.

"We wish to gain maximum exposure for our properties and apart from the quality of the ZPG websites, we were also attracted back by their comprehensive range of products and services which complement our brand perfectly. We are looking forward to working with the team to maximise value, for both our brand and our clients” he says.

Earlier this week it was announced over 1,000 branches that had left to join OnTheMarket has, over the course of two years, had rejoined ZPG.

*In a separate announcement yesterday, ZPG confirmed press speculation that the company had made an approach to comparison service GoCompare last week “in relation to a combination of the two businesses.” The approach was rejected and the board of ZPG is now considering its position.

Meanwhile two prominent City analysts say the anticipated stock market float by Agents' Mutual would be more likely to succeed if it had the support of the biggest corporate agency groups, Countrywide and Connells.

Anthony Codling and Sam Cullen, equity analysts at Jefferies - which in the past has worked with ZPG - say in a note to investors that despite the promised relaxation of the one other portal rule and the prospect of being part of the upcoming float of Agents Mutual, only 30 per cent of agency branches have subscribed to OnTheMarket.

"Since OTM announced its intention to float, the UK's two largest estate agents have signed long-term listing agreements with ZPG. We would be surprised if OTM had not tried hard to win them over to join OTM and leave ZPG" the analysts tell investors.

"Both Countrywide and Connells have profitably invested in portals before, having had equity stakes in both Rightmove and Zoopla. Perhaps neither could see the attractions in the equity story of OTM. We think it is clear OTM's IPO and growth plans would have had a higher chance of success with Countrywide and Connells on board."

The analysts also claim that currently OnTheMarket's revenues do not cover its operating costs and that even if Agents' Mutua's float succeeds in raising the £50m it has targeted "we are not sure that would be enough to take on Rightmove and ZPG."

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