EweMove Sells For £15,000,000

by Mark Alexander

15:44 PM, 7th September 2016
About 2 years ago

EweMove Sells For £15,000,000

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EweMove Sells For £15,000,000

EweMove Sells For £15,000,000

As soon as I got the news the morning I wrote to my good friend Glenn Ackroyd to offer him my congratulations.

Both Glenn and EweMove have been supporters of Property118 from the outset. Glenn was one of the first to become a founder member of Property118 Action Group.

The business was sold to Martin and Co. for £15 million; made up of £5 million cash payment at completion and the issue of £3 million of new ordinary shares, followed by a deferred payment of up to £7 million dependent on performance.

I can’t help but wonder what our own investment into LettingSupermarket.com might now be worth.

Background on EweMove

Launched in 2014, EweMove has a growing network of over 90 franchisees. The EweMove franchise model combines the recruitment of local property experts (“LPEs”) with a centralised technology platform whilst retaining the traditional features of a full estate agency service and a consumer fee structure predicated on completed sales, rather than listings. EweMove has shown significant and sustained growth and is a multi-award winning agency, voted the UK’s ‘No.1 Most Trusted Estate Agent’ by Trust Pilot in 2016.

The Board of MartinCo believes the Acquisition, which will operate as a subsidiary of the Group, is highly complementary to its existing business. The Board believes that the UK market could accommodate approximately 800 EweMove LPEs and that EweMove’s proprietary technology platform is fully scalable allowing for significant growth opportunities. Importantly, the deferred consideration of the Acquisition will be determined, in part, by the overall profitability of the Group, not solely of the EweMove business.

Acquisition highlights 

Development of multi-brand strategy – the addition of the EweMove business is in line with MartinCo’s established multi-brand strategy and augments the existing model by achieving immediate hybrid/on-line capability for the Group. This market sector now accounts for circa 3% of all listings.

Further growth at EweMove will be self-funding.

Strengthened management – the EweMove management will join the senior executive team taking on responsibility for technology and marketing across the Group.

Increased UK footprint – the acquisition will add 90 franchisees to the Group’s network of 287 trading offices.

Addition to lettings portfolio – EweMove has a rapidly expanding portfolio of properties under management which currently stands at 1,300 properties.

 Further details of the Acquisition

 MartinCo is acquiring the entire issued and to be issued share capital of EweMove, and its subsidiary Ewesheep Limited, for an initial consideration of £5 million in cash and £3 million through the issue of 2,321,550 new ordinary shares of 1p each in the Company (“Consideration Shares”).  The £5 million in cash will be paid using existing cash resources and debt drawn down from the Company’s existing debt facility.

In addition, deferred consideration of £7 million will be payable dependent on performance criteria linked to EBITDA for the enlarged Group for the full financial year ending 31 December 2018.

Financial Information on EweMove

For the 12 month period ended 30 June 2016, based on unaudited management accounts, EweMove generated revenues and profit before tax of £1.65 million and £0.12 million respectively. As at 30 June 2016, EweMove had gross assets of nil.   

Admission of Consideration Shares

An application has been made for the Consideration Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM (“Admission”). It is expected that Admission will occur on 7 September 2016.

Following Admission, the Company will have 24,321,550 ordinary shares in issue admitted to trading on AIM. This figure may be used by shareholders as the denominator by which they will determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the Company under the FCA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.

Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of MartinCo, said:

“Our strategy as a Group remains focused on traditional high street based lettings and estate agency model where we continue to see growth. This Acquisition provides the Group with a strategically important foothold in the rapidly developing market for online estate agency and letting services. We see the Acquisition as complementary to the wider Group strategy with the hybrid model, a people business which combines an online platform with truly local presence and customer service focus, differentiating it from other online offerings.”

“The Acquisition is also a logical development of the Group’s multi-brand strategy. Our stable of six property brands now includes a UK-wide lettings business, four strong regional players with brand provenance dating back to 1850 and now a “hybrid” agency. MartinCo continues to be focused on creating value for shareholders by leveraging its scale and over 30 years’ experience as a franchisor to build a significant share of the UK residential lettings and estate agency market.

“I have also been deeply impressed by EweMove’s management and their agreement that overall Group profitability should determine the final consideration paid. This ensures both existing and new management are aligned in the shared goals and objectives for the good of the wider Group.

“Finally, I’m delighted to welcome EweMove’s management to the senior executive team.  Their insight will be invaluable in developing our use of on-line marketing techniques and technology across the Group.”

David Laycock and Glenn Ackroyd, founders and Managing Directors of EweMove, said: 

“MartinCo is a forward looking company and we are hugely excited about the opportunities that this transaction brings. We look forward to working with the MartinCo team and are confident that the enlarged Group will be able to progress strongly with its broadened range of offerings within the market place.”



Comments

Glenn Ackroyd

19:29 PM, 7th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your kind words.

It's many years since we first met and not only have I been a supporter of your causes, but I've been an avid reader of this site.

You provide a wealth of information without the fluff and cut to the chase. And the calibre of your contributors is very high. That's why I always turn to this site when looking for the implications of any industry changes.

Keep up the good work.

Mark Alexander

6:54 AM, 8th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Glenn Ackroyd" at "07/09/2016 - 19:29":

Thank you Glenn, clearly these are exciting times for you.

I didn't expect to be reading a comment from the Head Sheppard today. Shouldn't you be a on a yacht drinking champagne somewhere?

Seriously though, I like that your business hasn't just been swallowed up by a National and that you will remain at the helm of your business with the same brand, which is awesome by the way. You're too young to retire anyway, and if you did you would probably get bored anyway and might even start a rival website to Property118. You stay where you are my friend 🙂

We must get together for a brainstorming session again at some point. I need some creative thinkers to help me to work out how to persuade the landlord masses that paying £10 a month to become members of Property118 Action Group is a 'no-brainer'. If we can get just 10% of all landlords to sign up that will give us a fighting fund of around £2 million a month. with that level of funding the PRS would be adequately resources to be able to compete on level terms against the likes of Shelter and Generation rent in terms of exposure to publicity, lobbying, training and any other causes affecting the sector. It will only take a few of the National agencies to start promoting the action group to their clients for momentum to take us quickly towards that goal.

All the best

Mark


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