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A year-end announcement from the country’s largest estate agency Countrywide has confirmed its agreement to being taken over by Connells.
Countrywide is a listed company with businesses that include Bairstow Eve and Hamptons but has been struggling with high levels of debt. Its share price has gyrated considerably in the last year.
Under the terms of the acquisition, each Countrywide shareholder will receive a cash payment of 395 pence per share, valuing the company at just over £130m. A majority of shareholders have already accepted the deal which is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2021. As part of Connells, Countrywide will no longer be listed.
All of Countrywide’s lenders are to be repaid in full and Connells will provide additional investment in technology, enhancing the branch network and in people.
Commenting on the acquisition, Connells’ group chief executive David Livesey, said his company’s primary motivation for the acquisition had been to invest in and grow the Countrywide business. ‘We believe that we have the right management team, strategy and investment firepower to work with the talented teams at Countrywide and lead Countrywide into a bright future’.
Connells, which is owned by Skipton Building Society, has its own substantial estate agency network offering residential property sales and lettings and related services. It was one of the founding firms of both Rightmove and Zoopla.
It said that it and Countrywide have ‘highly complementary businesses’ and that the acquisition will allow the enlarged Connells Group to increase its range of services to customers via a stronger and more efficient branch network.