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Agencies & People

More turmoil at Countrywide as Long and Creffield exits confirmed

Estate agency giant says it will now discuss three options with shareholders including Connells bid as it reveals new interim CEO.

Nigel Lewis

countrywide

Countrywide has revealed that it is considering three options following yesterday’s confirmation that Connells is preparing to go ahead with an acquisition approach, and confirmed that both executive chairman Peter Long and MD Paul Creffield are to leave the company.

The estate agency giant also now has a new interim CEO, Philip Bowcock, who previously worked at betting chain William Hill.

It also says there is insufficient support for the Alchemy deal “in its current form”, but also a “recognition of the need for new capital and a readiness among shareholders to invest in the company.”

The Countrywide board is now working with shareholders to consider the three options.

These include a capital raise to be underwritten by Alchemy Partners on amended terms; the Connells offer and raising more cash from existing shareholders.

Peter Long, Countrywide, imagePeter Long (pictured) says: “This business has many underlying strengths and a terrific group of people.  It was always my intention to step back when we found the right figure to take Countrywide forward, and Philip is that person.  The business is in good hands.”

David Watson, Acting Non-Executive Chairman, says: “Peter has worked tirelessly to secure the future of Countrywide.

“He has done the company a great service in bringing our shareholders to the table for constructive talks.

“This is a fundamentally sound business with a bright future.  Philip’s wealth of experience in leading large, listed companies will be hugely valuable as we navigate the near-term challenge of recapitalising the business and position it for long-term success.”

Paul Creffield, Group Managing Director, says: “Philip’s experience in leading a people business with significant high street presence will complement the deep industry experience of our talented teams well.

“This business has demonstrated its quality with strong trading through a difficult year. I’m delighted to welcome Philip to Countrywide and look forward to working with him and supporting him through this transition.”

Firm offer

City investors received Connells confirmation yesterday that it did intend to make ‘firm offer’ for Countrywide following three weeks of due diligence.

Countrywide’s share price leapt by 13% yesterday reaching £2.30p a share, its highest since March 11th just after the pandemic was announced.

November 24, 2020

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