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Historic agency Strutt & Parker snapped up by French bank

The real estate division of French bank BNP Paribas has exchanged on the acquisition of Strutt & Parker, bringing together some 1,500 staff.

Strutts staff have been told that the deal involves the bank buying the agency’s residential and commercial arms; the brand will be retained on the residential offices although not on the commercial side.

Contrary to reports earlier this year, it now appears that the residential arm will be led by Strutts’ current and highly popular senior partner, Andy Martin; previously, it had been believed he would be retiring this year when a deal on the future of Strutts was secured.

The agency began life back in 1885 when two friends - Edward Gerald Strutt and Charles Alfred Parker - become business partners and form Strutt & Parker with their first office in Finsbury Circus, London.

BNP PRE operates in a very different way to Strutt’s current residential split of London and country. Instead, BRP PRE is formed of six business divisions covering development, transaction, consulting, valuation, property management and investment management - these divisions each deal in offices, industrial and logistics, retail, land, and residential.

Strutts reported a 35pc fall to £18.2m in pre-tax profits in its results for the year to December 2016, with revenues of £108m; meanwhile BNP Paribas made £626m in revenue across Europe. 

Estates Gazette, the commercial property weekly and online publication, calculates that BNP PRE and Strutts as a combined force would see the French bank get its first major foothold in the UK residential sector. 

“While historically Strutts has reported about 40 per cent of its turnover from residential deals, the sector only accounts for about 15 per cent of BNP PRE’s UK business. A combined agent, with £206m of revenues, would be among the top five agents in the UK” predicts EG. 

Bidwells and CBRE had previously been mentioned in connection with a possible takeover of Strutts.

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