Takeover deal agreed for estate agent group

A £25m deal has been agreed for York-based Hunters Property Group to be acquired by The Property Franchise Group (TPFG).

It follows last month’s news that Hunters had received an initial approach from TPFG.

The acquisition values each Hunters share at 72p while Hunters will also declare a special interim dividend of 2.7p.

The cash-plus-shares deal will see Hunters shareholders take an 18% stake in TPFG. Since the initial approach was made in December, the increase in TPFG’s share price has added £1m to the deal value.

Kevin Hollinrake, chairman of Hunters and MP for Thirsk and Malton

Hunters chairman Kevin Hollinrake, whose 13.3% stake will be worth £3.3m, said: “We founded Hunters almost three decades ago with a single small office in York and a huge ambition to offer a brilliant service to our customers and to become the nation’s favourite property agency.

“Our ambition for our customers and our brand is undimmed and we see this consolidation as the vital next step that allows us to invest in the services, training and technology our customers and franchisees need.”

The enlarged group will benefit from increased scale with more than 400 physical branches, managing in excess of 70,000 tenanted properties and selling more than 20,000 properties per year.

It also hopes its greater size will mean it can make more effective use of TPFG’s plans to create a pool of 100 financial advisers, as well as to justify further recruitment in this area.

Richard Martin, TPFG’s non-executive chairman, said: “We believe that the acquisition represents a compelling opportunity for all shareholders.

“Hunters, with its reputable brand, experienced management team, trusted franchisees and strength in residential sales, is complementary to our current offering.

“The acquisition will enable us to continue to grow in the sector and, ultimately, deliver greater value to shareholders.”

TPFG is a UK-based property franchise business. Since its admission to AIM in December 2013, it has grown its revenues from £4.1m to £11.4m in 2019.

This has been achieved primarily through organic growth but also supported by acquisitions, including TPFG’s purchase of EweMove in 2016.

The Hunters Group was admitted to trading on AIM in July 2015 and its network today comprises 209 branches, generated annual revenues of £14m.

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