LSL Property Services has pulled out of a potential £500m merger with Countrywide, terminating a deal that would have created the UK’s biggest estate agent, amid market uncertainty due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
LSL, which owns Your Move and upmarket chain Marsh & Parsons, did not give a reason for its decision this morning, however the spread of coronavirus across the UK has sparked uncertainty and volatility in the market.
Countrywide said it had seen some “softening in recent days” due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but added that it was too early to assess its impact.
The estate agent, which owns Bairstow Eves, Gascoigne-Pees and Hamptons International, reported that it had seen a bounce in public sentiment at the beginning of this year and that agreed sales in February were ahead of expectations.
In a statement today the firm said: “Countrywide notes the announcement by LSL that it now no longer intends to make an offer for Countrywide.
“The company has been seeing the benefits from its ‘Back to Basics’ turnaround plan, with continuing operations having returned to growth in profitability.
“The board of countrywide remains confident in the strength of the underlying business as an independent company.”
A merger between the two firms could have led to job cuts as the combined workforce would have numbered around 14,000 staff.