Countrywide buys city property firm

Done deal: Matthew Ainsworth, with Spencers' Geoff Ackroyd, Jim Spencer and Anne Spencer, Peter Newsam, and John Longstaff
Done deal: Matthew Ainsworth, with Spencers' Geoff Ackroyd, Jim Spencer and Anne Spencer, Peter Newsam, and John Longstaff
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Family run Sheffield estate agency Spencers has sold its property management arm to the rapidly expanding Countrywide group for an undisclosed sum.

The deal was agreed after a competitive sale process, managed by award winning advisers BHP Corporate Finance.

Shareholders Geoff Ackroyd and Anne and Jim Spencer have grown Spencers’ property management operation into a business which manages a large portfolio of properties and focuses on the residential market in the south west of Sheffield.

Following the deal, Anne and Jim Spencer will continue to run Spencers’ residential sales and estate agency business, which operates from Ecclesall Road.

Jim Spencer said: “Having developed the business over recent years we are delighted to have found an excellent buyer in Countrywide.

“We would like to thank our advisers who worked extremely hard during a long and often tiring process to ensure that the sale proceeded smoothly.”

BHP Corporate Finance director John Longstaff said: “We have been working with Spencers during the past 12 months to identify, negotiate and agree terms with a suitable purchaser for its property management business.

“This is a quality local business and I am confident it will continue to prosper as part of Countrywide.”

Matt Ainsworth and Paul Roberts from the Sheffield office of international law firm DLA Piper provided legal advice to Spencers, while Peter Newsam of UHY Wingfield Slater, which has acted for Spencers since the company was founded in 1993, advised on accounting and taxation issues.

Matt Ainsworth from DLA Piper said: “Spencers is yet another excellent example of a dynamic and well-run South Yorkshire business which has attracted the attention of a large national player of the calibre of Countrywide.”

Countrywide claims to be the UK’s largest estate agency and operates around 1,300 estate agency or lettings offices under 46 local brands, in addition to having a financial services division which includes the largest UK mortgage brokerage with around 650 mortgage consultants.

Countrywide was acquired by private equity group Apollo Management in 2007 with Oaktree Capital Management and Alchemy Special Opportunities Fund acquiring additional stakes in 2009.