The Property Franchise Group (TPFG), parent company of Martin & Co, is in early stage talks to buy rival Hunters.
This move by TPFG, which is led by CEO Gareth Samples (pictured) was revealed by Sky News late last night but Hunters’ Chief Financial Officer Ed Jones has now released a statement confirming the discussions regarding a possible offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Hunters.
The announcement also has the blessing of TPFG which, like Hunters, is a franchised estate agency business.
“The approach is preliminary, and the terms remain subject to ongoing discussion and to due diligence by both Hunters and TPFG. Accordingly, there can be no certainty that an offer will be made nor as to the terms of any offer, if made.
“A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”
As the company making the offer, TPFG now has until 5pm on 1st January to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Hunters in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or withdraw.
This gives it just under a month to complete due diligence on Hunters.
“Whilst the Company has made a preliminary approach to the board of Hunters, there can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made for Hunters, nor as to the terms on which any offer might be made,” it says.
Such takeovers are not guaranteed to succeed. The purchase of Hunters comes just four weeks after Connells attempted a similar all-shares purchase of Countrywide, which so far has failed to gain the support of the Countrywide board. And three years ago TPFG was in involved in an unsuccessful effort to merge with another rival, Belvoir.
It is also likely that the CMA may step in to assess whether the deal is anti-competitive.
Glynis Frew (pictured), Chief Executive of Hunters, says: “As a leading national estate agency group with significant growth ambitions, it is routine for Hunters to consider new opportunities on an ongoing basis, any number of which may or may not come to fruition. In addition to this opportunity with The Property Franchise Group plc we are soon to launch SKIPA technology platform, which we believe is an industry disruptor that will further drive efficiency and improve customer service across the business. We look forward to releasing further details soon.”