Swindon corporate finance specialists celebrate third lettings agency sale

By Anita Jaynes on October 10, 2016

A  firm of corporate finance specialists based in Swindon is celebrating the lucrative sale of a third residential lettings agency in less than 12 months.

Despite government hurdles making the buying and selling of property more difficult with rises in stamp duty and the tightening of mortgage interest relief, residential lettings agents are ‘hugely saleable’, according to the firm based in Bath Road.

Ten years ago, Watersheds helped a client to purchase letting agents, Underwoods Town and County.

In May last year the company, stepped in again selling it for four times the original price paid, to Countrywide plc, a group turning over in excess of £700m.

By January this year they sold TG Baynes Estate Agents, a business with six branches in South East London, to LSL Property Services plc.

Simon Potts Managing Partner of TG Baynes, said: “The outcome far exceeded our expectations.”

And now, Urwin (Oxford) Ltd has been bought by Bill Cooper, providing Watersheds’ clients, Bob Urwin and Claire Boers with a six figure sum and the reassurance that all jobs are secure.

Urwin (Oxford) Ltd held a Martin & Co franchise. Martin & Co are a quoted public company with 240 franchisees operating all over the country.

David Fletcher, Partner of Watersheds, said: “This one is different. It is a franchisee. There are big, well-funded groups buying letting agents, but they are not interested in franchisees.

“Indeed, some people say that you cannot sell a franchisee for its full underlying value because buyers do not want to pay a percentage of the turnover to a franchisor.

“But a good franchise adds value to the right buyer, one that does not know the sector but wants to profit from the franchisor’s expertise. Our approach here was to find individuals that wanted a new way forward.

“Perhaps they had left a company with a big pay off and sought a second career, or maybe they wanted to build a business for a son or daughter to take over, giving them a career.

“Either way, we sought individuals that found a low risk profit stream attractive.”

Richard Buzzoni, director of Watersheds, added: “When people have worked hard to build up a business it is very satisfying to help them retire selling for maximum value and passing the business on to a safe pair of hands.”

Pictured above: Watersheds partner David Fletcher