Real life Monopoly: mergers & acquisitions

Posted on 22 Apr, 2021

Viewber asks how agents caught up in the current mergers and acquisitions frenzy might accommodate more work, or even rebuild from scratch.

Another day and another article on acquisitions and mergers in the estate agency sector. This time, industry news website Property Industry Eye carried the Lomond Group’s shopping spree and ambitious plans for further growth as its lead story. 

It follows an entire feature on the astoundingly active mergers and acquisitions market, in which Russell Quirk can be quoted as saying: “Countrywide has become Connells. Douglas & Gordon reverse into Foxtons, Hunters is absorbed by TPFG, Gibbs Gillespie is taken in by Leaders Romans and Dexters buys Roy Brooks.”

But let’s look at the latest announcement in more detail. The Lomond Group was formed following the £100m merger of Lomond Capital and Linley & Simpson at the end of 2020. Amazingly, it has already bought 10 businesses in the first quarter of 2021, brands including Thornley Groves, Brand Vaughan, John Shepherd, Stonehouse and Braemore now trading under one parent company. More are set to join as the Group accelerates its expansion plans, with an open invitation to agents considering an industry exit to get in touch.

From bold buy-outs to more modest activity, such as My Property Box purchasing Lifestyle Property so it could add a sales arm to its letting agency, many acquisitions and mergers create a new legacy and hopefully more work.

The Lomond Group now has more than 23,000 managed rental properties in hot spots across the UK, from Birmingham to Brighton. It was a similar story when South West London agent Samuel Estates grew its managed property portfolio by buying Keyhold Property Management. Suddenly it was responsible for more than 1,000 buy-to-lets.

Sadly, mergers and acquisitions sometimes mean a loss of staff as skills are consolidated, budgets balanced and an investment in proptech starts streamlining processes. While acquisitions to gain income streams make sense on paper, as do fixed overhead reviews, property is not predictable and this changeability can leave agents short.

The flow of work and availability of resources is at the mercy of everything from Prime Ministers and Government White Papers to mortgage product availability and global pandemics. It’s a curious blend of profitability, sustainability, service levels and agility – all against a backdrop of further growth, perhaps.

Whatever your standpoint on the monopolies that are forming – perhaps you are weighing up an approach for your own agency, are a casualty thinking of striking out as an independent or are the head of fast-growing group – we can help provide the right balance of availability, scalability and flexibility your business needs without lengthy contracts or minimum spends.

Talk to us today about our UK-wide accompanied viewing and property inspection service – both of which can be applied to sales and lettings AND combined with our digital marketing asset service.

Photography, 360 degree tours, virtual tours, floorplans and live video viewings can be created by our vetted Viewbers while at the property, leaving you time to concentrate on your next business move!


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