Chestertons explores business sale
Wed 02 Jul 2014
Upmarket estate agent Chestertons is exploring a sale of its business as questions grow over whether Londons booming housing market has begun to cool. People familiar with the matter said that Cavendish Corporate Finance, a London-based boutique investment bank, has been appointed to advise the company on a sale. Chestertons is majority owned by Mercantile Group, the investment firm controlled by Libya-born Salah Mussa-Tridevi Capital, a London-based private equity firm, owns a minority stake. Founded in 1805, Chestertons focuses on sales and lettings of upper-end homes in London, where it has 30 offices, and in 12 other countries including the UAE and Singapore. It is expected to fetch a price tag well beyond the 50m of its smaller rival Marsh & Parsons in 2011, one person added. Robert Bartlett, chief executive of the company since 2006, declined to comment. A deal would be the latest transaction involving a company closely linked to Londons housing market after 2013 initial public offerings from rival estate agents Foxtons and Countrywide. Zoopla, an online property listings site raised 385m from a stock-market listing in June. Chestertons is the product of a rapid marriage and divorce. Mercantle Group merged two estate agency brands. Chesterton and Humberts, in 2009 after buying the majority of Humberts out of administration. Vincent Tchenquiz, the UK property mogul, was a shareholder in Chesterton at the time but subsequently sold his share to Mercantile. The combined business had turnover of 51m in 2013 and was profitable. But Mercantile split the two brands again earlier this year, with their newly separate identities taking effect from last month. Humberts took control of the companys 27 UK offices outside London while Chestertons took its 30 London offices and 12-country international network.