The Financial Times is reporting this afternoon that BNP Paribas, the largest bank in France, is in talks to acquire high-end estate agency Strutt & Parker.
The FT says talks have been going on for several months and may not lead to a deal; both the bank and the agency declined to comment to the newspaper about the talks.
Strutts has been rumoured for some time to be for sale; in January 2016 there was speculation that it may be taken over by Bidwells, although this came to nothing.
The FT suggests that BNP Paribas may buy Strutts’ commercial activities directly, but would team up with another partner to acquire the residential arm.
Andy Martin, Strutt & Parker’s senior partner, is to step down this year.
In December, announcing figures for the year ending April 30, Martin said Strutts enjoyed revenues of £107.7m and operating profits of £18.9m.
“We experienced a full year’s reflection of the increase in the top rate of stamp duty to 12 per cent which had particular ramifications for the London market” he stated at the time.
“We also saw the full impact of recent political events and fiscal decisions which have undoubtedly affected confidence in the markets we trade, including the introduction of stamp duiy for second home purchases” he admitted.