One of the North’s leading residential letting agents has expanded its footprint across a raft of Yorkshire market towns for the first time after striking another major acquisition deal.
Leeds-headquartered Linley & Simpson has bought the lettings arm of fellow Yorkshire independent agency Simon Blyth – its fourth business purchase since the lifting of national lockdown.
The agreement has transferred around 400 properties stretching across the eastern Pennines and South Yorkshire into Linley & Simpson’s own rental portfolio, which now stands at 10,500 homes.
It has resulted in the company launching its 21st High Street branch, in Holmfirth near Huddersfield, as the impact of COVID-19 triggers high demand for homes to rent.
Linley & Simpson has retained both Simon Blyth’s lettings director David Sanderson, and its frontline lettings team, to ensure a smooth transition, and to continue to spearhead the future management of the new portfolio.
The Simon Blyth network of offices will now focus exclusively on residential sales, as well as its commercial property service.
The homes inherited by Linley & Simpson are primarily located in and around the eastern fringes of the West Yorkshire Pennines, including Huddersfield and Holmfirth; as well as in Barnsley, Penistone and Stocksbridge in neighbouring South Yorkshire.
Will Linley, chief executive of Linley & Simpson, said. “We are all thrilled to have acquired a rental portfolio from a market-leading agency of this calibre.
“For more than 30 years, the name of Simon Blyth has been a byword for all things property in these parts of Yorkshire.
“Extending our network in this way represents a perfect geographical fit. It enables us to reach into whole new swathes of Yorkshire – both in town centres and in the country, and featuring some real up-and-coming places.”
He added: “It equips us with the best possible platform on which to build further at pace and scale, through both acquisition and organic growth.
“Already, we are exploring a number of acquisition opportunities in this area as well as further afield – a signal of the continuing confidence we have in investing in the private rented sector.”
Recent acquisitions have seen Linley & Simpson launch in strategic target areas of Hull, Beverley and Bingley, near Bradford, as well as strengthen its coverage across Leeds, where the company first opened its doors 23 years ago.
Simon Blyth, who founded his agency in 1990, said his team would now concentrate its skills on the buying and selling side of the property market across its West and South Yorkshire heartland.
Linley & Simpson and Simon Blyth will be working in close partnership to offer the two million people living in that corridor of Yorkshire towns and cities the best of both worlds.
As part of the alliance forged, the former will specialise in lettings, and the latter will be dedicated to sales. Simon Blyth will also be working with landlords across the area to provide them with valuations and advice on lettings investments.
Short-term, Linley & Simpson will operate from the same premises in Hollowgate, Holmfirth, that were the regional headquarters of the Simon Blyth lettings team.
This latest acquisition – completed for an undisclosed sum – is the 15th 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 from LDC said: “It’s been another remarkable few months for Linley & Simpson. This latest acquisition underlines its position as one of the fastest growing letting agencies in the UK.
“Geographic expansion is an important objective for Will and Nick, so it is encouraging to see the business extend its footprint into the Pennine Corridor for the first time. It follows Linley & Simpson’s first foray into Humberside in 2019. A carefully mapped out buy and build strategy like this can deliver incremental growth that maximises opportunity and limits risk.”
Founded by Will Linley and Nick Simpson in 1997 with just two branches and a handful of staff, the Yorkshire duo’s company now employs a team of 260 people and was crowned Best Large Agency in the latest Yorkshire Residential Property Awards – the same title won by Simon Blyth the previous year.
Since July 2018, LDC-backed businesses across the UK have acquired more than 45 companies with a total enterprise value of over £275million. One-third of its portfolio is currently using a buy and build strategy.
Banking facilities were provided by Santander Corporate and Commercial Bank; and legal advice was provided by Simon Morris, Head of Corporate at Harrogate solicitors Raworths.