While many of the smaller property based companies are pulling their horns in, the biggest one is flexing its cheque book. They obviously see a future in the UK property market. Countrywide, the UK’s largest estate agency group by far, has continued its expansion plans by purchasing Hamptons International. This follows on the heels of its purchase of Sotheby’s International Realty UK franchise.

The deal means taking control of over 80 branches in the UK and abroad together with the rights to expand the brand worldwide.

Countrywide already has over 1,200 sales and lettings offices throughout the UK with 9,000 staff compared to its nearest rival Connells that has about 460 branches. Countrywide now has more than 40 brand names in its group and boasts over 700 mortgage consultants and the UK’s largest employed group of surveyors. It also has its own conveyancing network.

Countrywide (not to be confused with the US mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp) acquired the business from the Dubai based Emaar Properties, who will continue to operate Hamptons in the Middle East and Africa.

According to Grenville Turner, the Countrywide Group Executive: "This acquisition is a major breakthrough for both companies – they are a perfect fit. We identified that Hamptons International offers a key growth opportunity and we recognise the quality of its brand, its people, its branch locations and international credentials.”

Hamptons not only offers premium property worldwide, it also has its own property fund, Nanofunds in association with Bmor.

Countrywide continues to develop local brand names as opposed to pushing the Countrywide name. It has agencies such as Palmer Snell, Taylor’s, Chappell and Matthews and Morris Dibben. The company was bought out by Apollo Management in 2007and shareholders now include Oaktree, Alchemy and Polygon.

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