The City mergers and acquisitions oversight panel has given TPFG a further week to complete negotiations over its purchase of rival Hunters under Rule 2.6(c) of the Takeover Code.
This is the second extension granted after TPFG’s intentions became public following a leak to Sky News on 4th December. The two sides then had until 22nd December to seal a deal, but this was extended until 22nd January, which has now been prolonged by a further week to the 29th January.
The purchase of Hunters by TPFG should be straightforward because TPFG, which operates the Martin & Co and Ewemove national estate agency brands, is offering to buy the entire share capital of Hunters, which is a profitable and expanding company.
Only two problems are likely to be requiring more time – unexpected holes in Hunters accounts created by Covid and/or negotiations with its senior team (pictured) over the price offered for the agency.
Hunters is currently valued at approximately at £23 million based on its current share price of 70p, which is just 5p below its launch price of 75p back in January 2016. Hunters is also due to release its results for 2020 at any moment, although like most other franchised corporate estate agencies, it is likely to have survived Covid well. In 2019, its strong sales operation helped the chain enjoy a robust performance which included overall group revenue up by 7% to £42.4 million.
The deal, which was unearthed by infamous City reporter Mark Kleinman, was revealed so early in the process that negotiations have now had to be conducted at speed.
“Whilst the Company has made a preliminary approach to the board of Hunters, there can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made for Hunters, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” TPFG said at the time.
In January last year Hunters claimed to the largest agency in the UK by property sales after Purplebricks and Countrywide from 206 branches.