A high-profile industry figure with a distinguished track record going back to the 1990s has been quietly increasing his holdings in beleaguered estate agency giant Countrywide, The Negotiator can reveal.
Robin Patterson (above), who was a key figure in the expansion of both Hamptons International and Barnard Marcus before they were sold to larger groups, has been using a recently-established investment vehicle to hoover up shares in Countrywide.
The buying spree by Real Estate Investments 1 LLP, which trades as Catalist Partners, means it now holds 9.34% of the company’s shares after buying its first tranche on 7th July, followed by two more acquisitions in recent days.
Real Estate Investments 1 LLP was incorporated in May and its directors are Robin Paterson, Matthew Spence – the CEO of Natural Retreats that briefly recently owned Humberts – plus banker Paul Coles and former Nomura MD Joshua Ponniah.
There are only a handful reasons why an LLP like this might form – either to make a quick buck from the property industry as its key PLCs revive and their share prices rise; as part of a potential takeover bid for Countrywide; or – as a large shareholder – a way to influence the direction of the company.
Paterson has strong links to the estate agency business. In 1987 he purchased Barnard Marcus before selling it on to Sequence, lead a consortium that bought Hamptons International before selling it in 2004, was a major shareholder in Cluttons and more recently bought both UK Sotheby’s International Realty and Coldwell Bank Commercial.
He would therefore be well placed both given his experience and deep pockets to lead a friendly or hostile takeover of Countrywide, although there is no evidence to prove that such a strategy is being undertaken.
Countrywide’s share has been rising in recent weeks, by nearly 38% since it was reported that Peter Long, the company’s executive chairman since Alison Platt left in early 2018, is to step down from his leadership role as the company looks for a new CEO.