Both Strutt & Parker and the French bank BNP Paribas are declining to comment on speculation that the finance house is considering buying the agency.
We reported yesterday that the Financial Times claimed BNP Paribas, the largest bank in France, had been in talks for several months to acquire high-end estate agency Strutt & Parker; the speculation suggested that the bank would make a ‘clean purchase’ of the commercial arm of the agency but involve another partner to acquire the residential arm.
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.
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.
Towards the end of 2016 Strutts calculated that prime central London sales - a key earner for the firm's residential side - had dropped 47 per cent in the previous year.