Two of the best-known estate agents in Yorkshire have joined forces as the next stage in the housing-led regeneration of Leeds gathers pace.
Linley & Simpson has acquired the residential lettings and sales business of fellow independent agency Morgans, widely credited with pioneering city living in Leeds.
It marks the third acquisition that Linley & Simpson has completed since the Government’s controversial letting fees ban came into force on June 1, which the agency says has added impetus to continuing consolidation of the industry. It has also revealed that two further acquisitions are at an advanced stage.
The deal adds more than 1,450 homes to the lettings portfolio of the agency – founded by Will Linley and Nick Simpson – which now stands at 8,000 properties across its 16 branches in North and West Yorkshire.
It also brings together the land and new homes specialisms of both agencies, as well as their property consultancy services, as part of a key strategy to support the ever-growing pipeline of new-build across the city.
“This is a milestone moment for two like-minded, home-grown Yorkshire agencies who both launched in Leeds in 1997,” said Will Linley, Chief Executive of Linley & Simpson.
“When we first opened our doors, there were only around 500 residents living in the city centre. Now there are over 12,000 and over the next decade we expect the population will grow to well over 20,000.
“As the cranes return to the Leeds skyline in ever-increasing numbers, this is a timely opportunity to bring together all our skillsets under one roof amidst this latest phase of Leeds’ urban revolution.
“The combination of Morgans’ city living expertise and our wider Yorkshire reach is a perfect fit for providing a market-leading service – one that meets the needs of buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, as well as developers.
“Under the vision, leadership and unrivalled knowledge of founders Jonathan Morgan and Nigel Lenton, the name of Morgans has become synonymous with city living in Leeds. We are delighted that both will remain as key members of our senior executive team.”
While the deal signals the biggest acquisition in its history, Linley & Simpson is actively pursuing other opportunities as part of an ambitious growth strategy.
“For us, this is a bullseye acquisition that underlines our confidence in the future of Yorkshire’s residential property market – it’s as simple as that” said Will Linley.
“Our appetite for expansion has not been dampened by the fee ban. In fact quite the reverse, we view this as the perfect time to expand at scale and pace.”
Jonathan Morgan said: ““We are thrilled to be part of the Linley & Simpson family.
“It will herald the start of a new journey as two award-winning agencies come together to drive innovation to another level and to further improve customer service for all our clients.”
The acquisition – completed for an undisclosed sum – is the 8th to take place since Linley & Simpson secured the backing of LDC, the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investor, in June 2018 to accelerate its growth plans.
Gareth Marshall, investment director at LDC in Yorkshire & North East, said: “It’s been a year since we partnered with Will and Nick to support their ambitious buy-and-build strategy, so it’s only fitting that the business’s largest acquisition to date marks the milestone.
“Linley & Simpson’s footprint in Yorkshire has expanded at an impressive rate in the last 12 months and we’re confident its position as a leading agent in the region will continue to grow. The UK’s estate agency and lettings market is competitive and an expanded offering to customers is an effective way to stand out from the crowd.”
- Funding to Linley & Simpson for this latest deal was provided by Santander Corporate and Commercial Bank; and legal advice was provided by Simon Morris, Head of Corporate at Harrogate solicitors Raworths.