9 June 2020
ONE of the north's largest independent estate agents has marked the easing of lockdown by kick-starting the next stage of its major acquisition programme.
Leeds-headquartered letting specialists Linley & Simpson has bolstered services across its Yorkshire and The Humber heartland by sealing a brace of new deals.
It has acquired the Hull branch of Link Agency group and its lettings portfolio across the city. Link Agency is retaining its Goole branch and associated portfolio, and will continue to look after these customers from there.
The deal comes at the same time as Linley & Simpson launches its new flagship office in Hull, on Kingston Road in Willerby, following its acquisition of the 500-home lettings book of another agency, Beercocks, at the end of last year.
The former Link Agency office in Hull has been incorporated into this new base, which is managed by the former head of Beercocks' lettings arm, Rob Corn.
Within a fortnight of the sector being given the green light to reopen High Street branches safely, it has also swooped to buy the independent Leeds lettings agency Dawson Wake.
This double strike takes the total number of properties now managed by Linley and Simpson's 19 branches past 9,500.
Chief Executive Will Linley said: "After what's been a challenging time for many businesses, particularly estate agents, we are thrilled to have started the 'new normal' on a positive note with these acquisitions.
"They represent a clear signal of our strong confidence in the future of the lettings market as everyone adapts to life after lockdown.
"To have completed both deals so soon after restrictions lifted has given us an ideal platform on which to build, especially given the scale of pent-up demand that is now being freed up.
"In fact, on the day the sector was 'unlocked', we witnessed our busiest day of the year in terms on online traffic - a trend that has continued at pace."
These latest acquisitions - completed for undisclosed sums - represent the 12th and 13th to be delivered since Linley & Simpson secured the backing of LDC, the UK's leading mid-market private equity investors, two years ago to accelerate its growth plans.
Mr Linley added: "Our appetite for targeted expansion has not been dampened by the lockdown - in fact it's even stronger.
"As the industry moves out of lockdown, but straight into a series of other operational challenges, we see it as the ideal time to augment our business further.
"We are actively pursuing a number of other acquisition targets that pave the way for us to extend our footprint into new territories, as well as consolidate our branches in thriving locations - such as Hull, a UK City of Culture.
Mr Gareth Marshall at LDC said: "The ambitious management team at Linley & Simpson have continued to deliver on their growth strategy despite the challenging economic conditions.
"The latest acquisitions are another demonstration of how the business has gone from strength-to-strength since we backed the management team back in 2018. As lockdown measures start to ease, we're looking forward to seeing what the coming months have in store for the team and will be supporting them every step of the way."
Founded by Will Linley and Nick Simpson in 1997 with just two branches and a handful of staff, the duo's home-grown Yorkshire success story now employs a team of more than 250 people.