Estate agent Countrywide has confirmed discussions over a reported £500m merger with rival LSL are “ongoing” after news of the possible tie-up leaked over the weekend.
If Countrywide and LSL do tie the knot, they could create the UK’s biggest estate agent company with numerous brands under one umbrella.
Countrywide made a brief announcement today in which it said: “Countrywide confirms that it is in discussions with LSL Property Services plc (“LSL”) regarding a possible all-share combination.
“Discussions between Countrywide and LSL are ongoing. At this stage, there can be no certainty that any offer will ultimately be made for Countrywide.
“A further announcement will be made when appropriate.”
LSL echoed the statement, adding: “LSL reserves the right to introduce other forms of consideration and/or vary the mix or composition of consideration of any offer.
The company now has until 5pm on 23 March to decide to make a firm offer for its rival.
Negotiations between the parties were reported to be “serious” by Sky News yesterday. A merger would unite Countrywide’s estate agents Bairstow Eves, Gascoigne-Pees and Hamptons International with LSL’s Your Move and up market Marsh & Parsons.
However, job cuts could also loom, with the combined workforce numbering around 14,000 staff, if the new company looks to reduce duplication and costs.
Countrywide has a market capitalisation of around £111m, compared to LSL’s £360m valuation.
The former’s share price has suffered during a turbulent 2019 for UK house prices and the dominance of online competitors like Zoopla, Rightmove and Purple Bricks.