Martin & Co owner the Property Franchise Group (TPFG) has finally gone public with its offer for rival Hunters after nearly two months of negotiations and due diligence, and two requests to delay under City takeover rules.
TPFG is to pay £24 million for Hunters and, as it has the blessing of Hunters chairman, MP and founder Kevin Hollinrake and other shareholders, the acquisition will be straightforward.
The price reflects the company’s current market capitalisation value based on its current share price of 75p.
Richard Martin, TPFG’s Non-Executive Chairman (pictured) says: “I am delighted to confirm that we have reached an agreement with the Hunters Board and major Hunters shareholders on the recommended acquisition of Hunters. We believe that the acquisition represents a compelling opportunity for all shareholders.”
This purchase is an example of the intense consolidation taking place within the industry. TPFG has grown largely through acquisitions including Ewemove, the acquisition of Countrywide by Connells and Belvoir’s recent purchase of Lovelle.
This latest announcement adds 209 branches to the TPFG empire. The company’s CEO Gareth Samples (pictured, top) says it has been monitoring the market for an attractive opportunity with a view to achieving increased scale of its property franchising model.
Hunters will continue to be led by current CEO Glynis Frew who will take up the role of Managing Director of Hunters within the enlarged group.
Co-founder and Chairman Kevin Hollinrake will step away from the business to focus on ‘other pursuits’ including his political career.
“Both Hunters and TPFG acknowledge the exceptional work that Kevin has put into the business and the impact it has had on today’s estate agency landscape,” a joint statements says.
Hollinrake (pictured) says: “We founded Hunters almost three decades ago with a single small office in York and a huge ambition to offer a brilliant service to our customers and to become the nation’s favourite property agency.
“The success we have achieved is a tribute to the incredible efforts of the thousands of people who provide the service on the ground and the passion and commitment of our management team.
“I am so grateful, and indeed moved, that every member of our network remains faithful to our original vision and values and I know that they will continue to do so.”
“The acquisition should allow for cost synergies for both the enlarged Group and its franchisees, which will be welcome should the currently very buoyant UK housing market pause for breath or falter,” says Anthony Codling of Twindig.