The extraordinary consolidation in the estate agency industry continues apace today with two of the biggest deals reaching critical points.
Firstly Hunters’ shareholders have over the weekend agreed to the terms of the company acquisition by The Property Franchise Group; 99.9 per cent of shareholders backed the move at a special meeting at the start of the weekend.
The enlarged franchise company will see TPFG have control of over 400 physical branches, 70,000 tenanted properties and a sales record of some 20,000 homes per year. TPFG will also recruit a pool of some 100 financial advisers.
Glynis Frew, chief executive of Hunters, will become an executive director of The Property Franchise Group; Gareth Samples will remain as the TPFG Group chief executive.
The combined agencies will now have three national brands – Martin & Co, Hunters and EweMove - plus six regional/local ones, CJ Hole (Bristol), Ellis & Co (London), Parkers (Oxfordshire), Whitegates (North of England), Mullucks (Essex) and Country Properties (Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire).
Secondly, today sees the formal suspension of Countrywide shares from the London Stock Exchange - the final death throes of the troubled agency group, which will now become part of Connells Group.
Countrywide’s last-ever closing share price was 394.8p; almost exactly seven years ago they were at a high of just over 13,000p. A formal cancellation of the shares will be declared tomorrow (Tuesday).
Thirdly, Foxtons reports to its shareholders on Wednesday of this week - this will be the formal announcement on the company’s 2020 performance, but the statement is expected to touch upon its forecast for 2021 given its recently-announced acquisition of rival London network Douglas & Gordon.
Meanwhile Dexters - benefitting from a reported £130m injection from a private equity firm over the next few years - is rumoured to be hunting another London agency chain for possible acquisition later in the spring.
Dexters currently has 70 branches with the ambition of turning that into 100 within five years. Last week it announced its purchase of the small but high profile Roy Brookes independent in the capital.
Finally there remains consolidation at all levels of the agency industry; over the weekend it was announced that Leaders Romans Group had snapped up small single branch independent agency EuroLet, based in Bishop’s Stortford.
Days earlier it had revealed it had acquired the 13-branch independent Gibbs Gillespie for an undisclosed sum; this was Leaders’ largest acquisition to date and includes branches across Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.