Property management services company secures Equistone investment

Sebastien Leusch

Equistone Partners Europe, the European mid-market private equity investor, today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire FirstPort, a UK residential property management company, from Epiris and Chamonix Private Equity.

FirstPort manages 196,000 residential properties across more than 3,900 developments throughout the UK, including 20,000 across approximately 500 sites in the North of England.

Following this change of ownership, FirstPort’s incumbent management team will remain invested in the business and continue to pursue the same customer-focused strategy.

The financial terms of the deal are undisclosed and completion of the transaction remains subject to approval by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The company works with developers, investors, freeholders and more than 200 Resident Management Companies to provide services to leaseholders.

Under the ownership of Epiris and Chamonix, FirstPort brought in a new management team led by chief executive Nigel Howell, instituted extensive improvements to customer service standards and reorganised and rebranded the company’s operations. The business employs more than 3,000 people.

Sebastien Leusch, investment director at Equistone Partners Europe in Manchester, said: “In recent years, FirstPort and its talented management team have successfully delivered an impressive growth plan and demonstrated their unwavering commitment to providing high-quality customer service.

“Our investment in the business will support FirstPort on its comprehensive digital transformation programme and help to further enhance its customer service offering.

“We look forward to working with Nigel, his team and all FirstPort employees to extend the company’s growth trajectory, by deepening existing client relationships, tapping into other areas of the residential property management market and supporting targeted strategic acquisitions.”

Nigel Howell said: “This is an exciting milestone for FirstPort.

“Our current investors have been hugely supportive as we strengthened FirstPort’s service and return to growth.

“We are now delighted to be working with Equistone as new investors with a strong reputation for enabling companies to grow and develop.

“As we enter a new growth phase, underpinned by digital services, Equistone’s support will ensure we deliver exceptional service for our customers and clients, as well as enabling our employees and partners to establish the skills and expertise we need for the future.”

Tim Swales, Sebastien Leusch and Isabella Boman-Flavell led the investment on behalf of Equistone.

Equistone was advised by Deloitte Advisory, Travers Smith and Deloitte Transaction Services.

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