At least two branches of a Countrywide agency have been closed, shortly before news broke of a proposal for a large scale investment and restructuring by a private equity firm.
Local media in the westcountry report that Palmer Snell branches in Bridport and Bournemouth have shut.
The door of the vacant Bridport office reportedly carries a sign saying the branch is now closed and all enquiries can be made by contacting Palmer Snell through its website or at the Weymouth branch. Staff are believed to have been relocated to offices in Weymouth and Yeovil.
Palmer Snell is a long-standing brand with 200 years of history, operating in Devon, Dorset and Somerset. It had 22 branches before this cull; it is not known how many branches in total the brand is losing.
Estate Agent Today has asked Countrywide for a statement on the issue, but none has been forthcoming so far.
Countrywide now appears to be the scene of a struggle for its future.
The large scale investment of some £90m proposed by private equity operator Alchemy was announced in a trading statement yesterday; the company’s share price fell sharply upon hearing the news, down over 15 per cent at one point in morning trading.
Then within four hours of the announcement a major group of shareholders - Catalist Partners, which owns around 10 per cent of the firm - revealed it was against the Alchemy investment. Catalist is led by agency industry veteran Robin Paterson who was a key figure behind Hamptons International and Barnard Marcus in the 1990s.
* If you know of other Countrywide branch closures please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.