Posh estate agent Chestertons sticks up the For Sale sign
Tue 01 Jul 2014
Private-equity investors are circling upmarket London estate agent Chestertons as the capitals booming housing market surges. Following approaches from US and UK private-equity buyers, Chestertons has hired Cavendish Corporate Finance to hoist the For Sale sign with a price tag well in excess of 50 million. The estate agent split in two in February, separating its London Chestertons offices from its Humberts brand, which operates 25-plus branches outside the M25. The group is owned by Mercantile Group which, once the separation of its London and regional estate agents was complete, decided to take advantage of the global demand for expensive London homes and sell up. Mercantile, which is controlled by Libya-born Salah Mussa, bought the group in 2005 and private-equity firm Tridevi Capital is a minority investor. Property investor Vincent Tchenguiz previously owned a stake but sold out to Mercantile. Sources close to the sale expect interest to come from private-equity firms as well as overseas high-net-worth investors and other rival estate agent groups. Chestertons was rescued from administration in 2005. It was merged with Humberts in 2009. Following its focus on the high-end central London market its performance has dramatically improved and turnover reached 51 million last year. The sale process follows a number of deals in the estate agent market as the housing market continues to thrive. LSL, parent company of Your Move and Reeds Rains, bought Marsh & Parsons in 2011 and plans to buy up more rivals, Foxtons listed last year, and private equity group Bowmark Capital backed the management buy-out of property services firm Romans Group last autumn.