Ailing estate agency Humberts has been bought lock-stock by an upmarket UK holiday-home lettings and sales company called Natural Retreats.
The deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, was brokered by Canary Wharf-based business recovery firm Begbies Traynor and will save all remaining jobs across the UK within Humberts.
Wilmslow-based Natural Retreats, which offers both holiday homes in the UK and US to rent and for sale, says it acquired Humberts in order to expand its UK business into a leading rural property company.
Natural Retreats specialises in offering upmarket holiday makers a personalised concierge service and off-the-beaten track properties.
Humberts went into voluntary administration at the end of April and staff both at its head office and at branches across the UK were told redundancies would follow.
The agency has so far failed to file accounts for 2015, Companies House records show, and made a loss of £1.5 million during 2014.
The purchase of Humberts by Natural Retreats, which MD Ian Westerling (pictured) was a “competitive” bidding process, is likely to see money injected into the business, although only ‘remaining’ staff will keep their jobs, suggesting a redundancy programme was completed as part of the sale.
“We are absolutely delighted that Natural Retreats group of companies and investors has decided to purchase Humberts,” says Westerling, who will remain with the business.
“For us, the business is a perfect fit and there will be mutually beneficial crossovers. We have a shared vision of ensuring exemplary customer service, innovative use of prop tech, and already have complimentary business streams.”
Business as usual
Matt Spence, CEO of Natural Retreats (pictured), stressed that it is ‘business as usual” for Humberts and that it “is a perfect fit and there will be mutually beneficial crossovers. We have a shared vision of ensuring exemplary customer service, innovative use of prop tech, and already have complimentary business streams,” he says.
“We’re at a stage in our evolution where Natural Retreats is keen to drive innovation and our aim is to create a leading rural estate agency and holiday lettings business.
“We have a vision to preserve the natural economy and this 176 year old brand that has a history and love for looking after beautiful rural lands and homes fits with our vision.”