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Countrywide headquarters face review if Alchemy ‘takeover’ is voted through

Company's Milton Keynes central and London management hubs to be looked at if re-financing deal is approved by shareholders on 18th November.

Nigel Lewis


Estate agency giant Countrywide has made the prospectus for its £90 million raise via a share-issue based investment via shareholder Alchemy, available online.

But the money comes at a cost including a shake-up of its board and a possible restructure at its HQs in Milton Keynes (above) and London, including a potential relocation and examinations of its functions.

As we reported last week, Group COO Paul Chapman has already gone.

Within the document, Countrywide confirms that it has considered selling off one of its more valuable estate agency chains.

countrywide leaver

It also says that, apart from a recent purge of poorly-performing branches, for the moment it is not planning to reduce its estate further.

The new board will be Carl Leaver (left, Chairman), Himanshu Raja (Chief Financial Officer) and Paul Creffied as Group Managing Director, who will stick around until a new CEO is found.

Alchemy is to get two non-executive directors on the board, Ian Cash and Ian Neill, to ensure its plans are pushed through.

Headquarters evaluation

“Following the implementation of the proposed transaction, Alchemy and Countrywide management intend to evaluate the Group’s headquarters and headquarters-related functions,” the prospectus says.

“The evaluation will take account of the location of the Countrywide Group’s operations and other relevant factors.”

Countrywide want to raise £90 million from investors through two sets of new shares – 48.8 million to be bought by Alchemy and 17.8 million shares to be offered to other existing shareholders.

But while the prospectus makes the refinancing deal with Alchemy signed and sealed, there is a long way to go.

Crunch time will come at a meeting on 18th November when all shareholders, including its largest (Catalist, Hoskings, Brandes and Oaktree Capital) will get vote on the deal.

If other existing shareholders can out-vote the deal then it could fail but the company’s finances are in a ‘precarious state’ and unless an alternative can be proposed that investors prefer, Alchemy and Countrywide will get their way.

Read more about Catalist and its approach to the deal.

November 3, 2020

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