Countrywide sell its franchising business


Monday, September 5, 2011

Countrywide have completed the sale of its franchising network to Hunters the independent estate agency group.

With immediate effect, all 90 Bairstow Eves branded franchise offices and 8 head office based staff will be under Hunters management and ownership.

The acquisition of all 90 Bairstow Eves franchise offices has now taken the total number of offices in the Hunters network to almost 200 operations, cementing Hunters position as the UK's largest independent estate agency franchise business.

Countrywide has had a franchise estate agency operation since 2000 but has decided to sell the business in order to focus on its owned operations.

Commenting on the sale of the franchising business, Robert Scarff, Managing Director of Countrywide's estate agency division said:
"Over the years we have built up a good profitable franchise business.  Countrywide strategy remains focused on expanding our portfolio of directly owned branches; therefore it was a natural progression to pass the business on to a company that has the capabilities to develop the network and to take on board the requirements of the franchisees. The Hunters business model complements that of our own franchise offices and we feel that they have a great proposition with the ability to provide franchisees with the support they need to continue to grow their businesses."

Kevin Hollinrake, Managing Director of Hunters commented: "We are very excited to have so many experienced and highly motivated business owners joining the Hunters network to deliver a customer experience with real passion and commitment. Our ambition to become the UK's favourite independent estate agent has taken a big leap forward. We were one of the first to introduce both the franchise model and to establish a network of personal agents and this acquisition accelerates our ability to offer a national service."

The Countrywide Franchise management team, led by Operations Director Andrew Grant, will be joining the Hunters team and continue to have responsibility for the ninety offices.

Countrywide will continue to provide support to franchisees and Hunters during the transition and rebrand process. Within six months the Bairstow Eves franchise offices will all be rebranded as Hunters and many will be refitted as part of the substantial investment programme, to include a major national advertising campaign.

In addition, Countrywide will continue to offer financial services and surveying services to the newly grown Hunters network.

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