easyProperty merges with GPEA to offer online and traditional service
Leading online estate agent easyProperty and high street chain GPEA last night agreed a merger that will see the new company offering a wider portfolio of services and marketing to potential sellers.
Online estate agency, easyProperty, and GPEA, the parent company of The Guild of Property Professionals (The Guild) and Fine & Country, have announced a merger, enabling independent estate agents to offer additional fixed-price online sales and lettings packages alongside their traditional commission model.
The merger is expected to complete by the end of June and aims to leverage GPEA’s network of circa 5,000 property professionals by offering access to easyProperty‘s online packages through a monthly technology licence under the ‘easy‘ brand.
Shareholders of the enlarged group, whose holding company is called e-Prop Services Plc, include funds managed by Toscafund Asset Management LLP (“Toscafund”), GPEA shareholders and easyProperty‘s original investors and founders.
easyProperty is part of the easy family of brands and operates under licence from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou’s easyGroup.
e-Prop Services Plc will now be able to provide sales and lettings solutions across the entire property market from the high-end brand of Fine & Country to the affordable, volume-market brand of easyProperty and the independent estate agent’s own brand.
Jon Cooke, Executive Director of both The Guild and Fine & Country, has been appointed as e-Prop Services Plc’s new CEO.
Cooke described the merger as a game changer for the property sector, stating, “This deal allows our member agents to offer more consumer choice with sales and lettings products catering to both the do-it-yourself and the do-it-for-me vendor and landlord preferences.
“We recognise the market requires and demands both online products and traditional methods. This newly merged business is the convergence of traditional estate agency and online.
“Effectively we are providing independent agents the ability to compete with products targeting each consumer demographic. At the same time, licencees will have full autonomy and flexibility to not only benefit from upfront revenue streams but take advantage of potential lead-generation into their core brand. In the coming months we will be launching the new easyProperty website as well as a new, national brand marketing campaign.”
The Guild was established 24 years ago and comprises independent property professionals across the UK. All members belong to a redress scheme and property professionals have access to the Guild’s compliance and accreditation programmes, ensuring high-quality standards.
GPEA has a strong track record in multi-brand businesses having launched the high-end estate agency brand, Fine & Country, in 2002 which is now approaching 300 outlets worldwide.
The easyProperty new business model is evolving from being a B2C operator to a B2B2C provider of proptech solutions. easyProperty‘s technology licence will be available to independent agents through a monthly-licence model.
During the Guild’s recent regional roadshows, more than 80% of independent agent attendees expressed an interest in a branded technology platform allowing them to offer a choice of services to their customers. Cooke will be following up with another round of regional meetings in the coming weeks to present the new platform, customer proposition and the commercial opportunities.
easyProperty founder and former CEO, Robert Ellice, will remain with the company.
GPEA’s shareholders were advised by Hamlins LLP with e-Prop Services Plc using K&L Gates as its legal advisers.
Toscafund Asset Management LLP is an institutional multi-asset fund manager with offices in London, Manchester and Greenwich Connecticut. Founded by Martin Hughes in 2000 Toscafund manages global equity funds, private equity funds, UK corporate debt funds and UK commercial property funds.
easyProperty established in 2014 initially providing residential lettings products before adding sales products in 2015.
About The Guild
The Guild was established 24 years ago and currently has approximately 5,000 property professionals. All members belong to a redress scheme and property professionals have access to the Guild’s compliance and accreditation programmes, ensuring high-quality standards.
Fine & Country
The Fine & Country brand is targeted at the upper-end of the residential market. It has an international reach with 300 outlets worldwide, encompassing 16 countries.
Stelios is best known for creating in 1995 when he was just 28 years old. This pan-European low cost airline, headquartered in London, has revolutionised European air travel over the last two decades and it is now flying over 75 million passengers per year across 31 countries with a fleet of more than 260 aircraft. In 2000 Stelios floated easyJet on the London Stock Exchange in order to fund growth but he and his family have always remained the largest shareholders with a c 33% stake. As easyJet PLC became one of the biggest UK companies by market value, Stelios successfully campaigned to set a dividend policy that now distributes half of annual profits by way of dividends to all shareholders. For more information see www.easyJet.com
The easy business: Another strategic decision made during the IPO process was that Stelios decided to retain ownership of the ‘easy‘ brand, (including easyJet) in his private investment vehicle, easyGroup, based in Monaco and London. As a result easyGroup now enjoys a steady and predictable income from licensing the easy brand to many businesses including the airline in return for a royalty based on their turnover (not profits). The easy brand has been extended and licensed to many other sectors – all dedicated to offering consumers more value for less. These include: easyHotel, which was also floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2014, easyBus, easyCar, easyVan, easyProperty, easyOffice, easyFoodstore, easyCoffee, easyGym and many many more, all of which contribute to easyGroup‘s royalty income stream. Stelios continues to look for carefully selected partners with whom to extend the brand further. easyGroup now owns more than 1000 registered trademarks within the easy family of brands all over the world and takes its protection from unauthorised use very seriously. For more information see www.easy.com
08/06/2017 – telegraph.co.uk
08/06/2017 – estateagenttoday.co.uk
08/06/2017 – reuters.com
08/06/2017 – Evening Standard
09/06/2017 – cityam.com
26/06/2017 – propertyindustryeye.com
26/06/2017 – estateagenttoday.co.uk