French bank BNP Paribas has bought Strutt & Parker for an undisclosed, but likely to be substantial, sum – with the 53 equity partners who own Strutt & Parker beneficiaries of the deal which is set to propel the merged entity into one of the world’s top five agents.
Champagne corks popped last night after the laborious deal took months to get through.
The firm’s equity partners received a total of £16.2m in payouts from the company in the 2016 financial year.
The deal, which will merge 60-branch Strutt & Parker with BNP Paribas Real Estate, the bank’s property advisory subsidiary, is due to complete next month.
BNP Paribas Real Estate is buying both Strutt & Parker’s commercial and residential arms.
Strutt & Parker, founded in 1885, says it is the second biggest player in the UK rural market, and the third in residential.
The residential business, together with its rural, development and planning arms, will continue to trade as Strutt & Parker. The commercial arm will rebrand to BNP Paribas Real Estate. Earlier speculation suggested that BNP Paribas Real Estate had been only interested in the commercial arm, and would link with another group that buys the rest of the business. However, that appears to have been put to bed – for the time being, at least.
Strutt & Parker has around 1,000 staff in the UK while BNP Paribas Real Estate employs around 500.
Strutt & Parker senior partner Andy Martin will reportedly become UK chief executive of BNP Paribas Real Estate, taking on the role from John Slade who is expected to remain at the company.
Yesterday evening Martin said: “I am very keen on the idea of uniting our brand with the strength of BNP Paribas Real Estate.
“It gives us a distinguishing feature and a new impetus in a constantly-evolving global market. I have been impressed by the respect that they have shown for our values, and by their emphasis on the relationship with employees and clients across all our business sectors.
“This merger not only creates attractive commercial real estate opportunities, but also opens up new prospects in the rural and residential sectors thanks to the size and strength of the group that we are creating together.”
Thierry Laroue-Pont, CEO of BNP Paribas Real Estate, said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to create a new major real estate player that combines the skills of our two companies.
“This combination will enable us to offer our clients, all over the world, a broadened and deeper expertise as well as new and even more innovative services and solutions. In this new stage of development, we shall carefully take into consideration the expectations of both groups’ employees and clients.”
Strutt & Parker made £18.2m pre-tax profit on £108m of revenue according to its last annual report – a drop of 35%, as it struggled with the slowdown at the top end of the residential market where it operates.
Last year, BNP Paribas made €700m (£626m) in revenue across Europe. The UK was its third-biggest market, making up 12% of revenues.
According to Estates Gazette, the deal could create one of the five biggest estate agents in the world.