Leaders has completed the purchase of Derby-based letting agent, IMS Lettings Limited, in its largest acquisition deal to date.
The decision to buy IMS Lettings Limited follows Leaders’ recent purchase of Nottingham property sales and lettings firm PWR in April and significantly extends Leaders’ branch network in the East Midlands.
IMS, which has been established for over 10 years, has offices in Derby, Duffield, Belper, Borrowash and Long Eaton.
All the members of staff at IMS have joined Leaders under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, otherwise known as TUPE, whilst the firm’s vendor, Chris Griffin, has exited the company to focus on other business interests.
Commenting on the sale of IMS, Griffin (right of the main pic) said, “I am confident that the business I have built over the last 10 years will have a secure and successful future as part of Leaders. In choosing a company to sell to it was crucial to me that my clients and staff would be well looked after and that the business would continue to be run in line with the high standards I have set and maintained over the last decade.
“I know that with Leaders there will be many benefits to my staff who will have excellent opportunities to develop their careers. My clients will continue to receive an excellent service whilst also having access to a broader range of property services in many more locations. This is an exciting new chapter for the business and I’m looking forward to seeing how it develops under Leaders in the coming months and years.”
Leaders’ Acquisitions Director, Matthew Light (left of the main pic), added, “This acquisition represents a significant milestone for us: it is our largest acquisition to date, bringing us into a new county and significantly extending our branch coverage in a new region. It also gives us a presence between Derby and Nottingham and provides us with the critical mass we need to grow our East Midlands region. We extend a warm welcome to our new staff and clients in Derbyshire and look forward to a successful future with them.
“We intend to develop this region further in the same way that we develop our existing regions, by acquiring good quality businesses in those towns where we do not yet have a presence, as well as acquiring property portfolios to strengthen our established branches. We are always keen to hear from any business owners thinking of selling and can assure them a smooth and fair transaction.”
Leaders, which now has 99 branches across the UK, is actively looking to further add to its expanding business through a combination of strong acquisitive and organic growth, supported in part by a £30 million expansion financing facility secured last year to support its continuing buy-and-build strategy.
Writing exclusively for The Negotiator magazine recently, Paul Weller (right), CEO of Leaders, said that his firm will only consider acquiring what he described as “good quality businesses for acquisition”, which meet the following criteria:
The business must have been established for a significant period of time and have built long-term goodwill with its client base
A significant proportion of the client base must be fully managed – the business must not be overly dependent on income that is not maintainable, such as from a single dominant client
Client accounts must be properly reconciled and deposits properly protected
All documents relating to all tenancies must be in place and easily accessible. Tenancy Agreements and Terms of Business must be well drawn, contain no unfair terms and conditions and have been signed by all appropriate parties
All documentation must be readily available to respond to due diligence enquiries in a timely manner
Financial and management information needs to be completely up-to-date from the outset
For existing estate agency proprietors potentially interested in selling their business, Weller offered the following advice, “The vendor should instruct a solicitor who has sufficient corporate and commercial experience, and capacity to handle the deal.
This will save them money in the long run and make the process smoother; we have seen too many vendors appoint a local general practice single partner firm with insufficient commercial experience or resource to properly advise their client or keep to any agreed timescale.
“Vendors should only consider selling to a purchaser with a good track record in acquisition and a reputation for acting fairly and proficiently. The process can be complicated and difficult – and there is a greater chance of the deal hitting hurdles or falling through – if the purchaser is not experienced and does not have the appropriate resources and procedures in place to ensure a smooth and efficient transaction.”