Scottish lettings firm behind Braemore brand merges with English peer

Lomond Capital, the owner of Scottish lettings and estate agency brands Braemore and Stonehouse, is to merge with a Yorkshire firm to create a business with more than 22,000 properties on its books.

Stuart Pender, group chief executive of Lomond Capital. Picture: Jane Barlow
Stuart Pender, group chief executive of Lomond Capital. Picture: Jane Barlow

The firm said that the deal with Linley & Simpson would create a national lettings and estate agency group with financial backing from private equity outfit LDC.

The enlarged group will now look to strengthen its network through bolt-on acquisitions and organic growth.

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It has a combined portfolio of more than 22,000 properties under management and major hubs in private rental hotspots including Aberdeen, Birmingham, Brighton, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester.

The deal brings together brands including Braemore in Edinburgh and St Andrews and Stonehouse in Aberdeen. All local brands will continue to operate in their respective regions, bosses said.

Financial details surrounding the deal have not been disclosed.

Stuart Pender, group chief executive of Lomond Capital, said: “Lettings and estate agents are facing an increasingly complex regulatory environment and challenging trading conditions.

“We have had significant success in bringing together and supporting good quality regional agents under one operating model whilst maintaining a local, on the ground approach which together has delivered significant benefits to landlords and tenants.

“Market conditions in the private rental sector are well suited to continued growth through consolidation. We are looking to continue to consolidate regional markets, whilst at the same time enhancing the proposition the sector offers to clients, through our network of market leading regional agents.”

Linley & Simpson is already backed by LDC – the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group – and has grown significantly across the Yorkshire region. Since LDC’s investment in June 2018, the business has made 18 acquisitions and doubled its portfolio from 5,000 to 10,000 properties.

Co-founder and chief executive of Linley & Simpson, Will Linley, will join the board as group managing director with a focus on delivering the new group’s acquisitive growth strategy. Nick Simpson will become chief executive of Yorkshire and Martin Elliott takes the role of chief financial officer.

Linley said: “This transaction is a continuation of our approach to building our business while retaining our successful local approach. We are actively seeking fresh opportunities to grow within Scotland.

“We’re excited about the opportunities in each of the Lomond regions and I’m looking forward to working closely with Stuart, the Lomond team and LDC to help grow the new group.”

Lomond Capital was established in 2010 by Pender and Roger Lane-Smith.

The deal comes less than a week after Countrywide, the estate agency business that owns Scottish brand Slater Hogg & Howison, agreed to a sweetened takeover offer from rival Connells in a deal valuing the group at some £134 million.

The move came after Connells increased its offer to 395p a share, following a 325p bid made on 7 December and a previous 250p-a-share approach.

The recommended bid values Countrywide at just over £134m, or about £223.1m when debt is factored in. It creates an estate agency business with more than 1,200 branches across the UK.

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