South: LSH sold to John Bengt Moeller for £38m

Countrywide is to sell Lambert Smith Hampton, one of the UK’s best-known and largest commercial real estate advisers, for £38 million in cash.

In a stock market announcement, the group added that it had secured an amended credit facility with its lenders to continue its turnaround plan in a “challenging and uncertain market environment”.

LSH’s new owner is John Bengt Moeller, the founder of Great Global Holdings, a holding company for a number of UK and international companies focused on commercial property.

Countrywide said that the sum being paid represents a fair valuation for the Lambert Smith Hampton business, at six times adjusted EBITDA.

Ezra Nahome, CEO, at LSH, said: “We have had a great six-year journey being part of the Countrywide Group plc, and we are excited to enter 2020 with our new owner, who is fully behind our long-term vision and strategy.

“We look forward to driving disruption in our sector through the use of technology, innovation and data.”

Countrywide appointed Deloitte in 2016 first to advise on a potential sale of the Lambert Smith Hampton business.

LSH, one of the UK’s leading commercial property agents, had been in busy acquisitions mode since it was bought in an 11th hour deal by Countrywide three years prior.

On 26 September 2013, LSH, which can trace its beginnings back to 1773, was bought by Countrywide from Sankaty for £34.1m. The acquisition was financed from Countrywide’s existing cash resources with the Lambert Smith Hampton brand and chief Ezra Nahome and his management board retained to “continue to shape and drive LSH’s decisions and objectives”.

The sale provided sudden certainty for LSH ahead of an EGM at 10am that day that had been expected to see Sankaty, a subsidiary of US private equity giant Bain Capital, propose a debt-for-equity restructuring of the indebted business.

LSH, with offices throughout the Thames Valley and Splent regions, remains one of the largest commercial property consultancies in the UK and Ireland with a range of blue-chip clients across the banking, finance, transport, telecoms and retail sectors, including the BBC as well as more than half of all London Borough Councils and over 1,000 train stations.

After Countrywide’s acquisition it bought a number of well known businesses, including Tushingham Moore, BTWShiells, ES Group and Douglas Newman.

The group now has 40 offices across the UK and Ireland and 1,700 staff.

DWF advised Countrywide on the sale.

Peter Long, executive chairman of Countrywide, said: “The sale of the Lambert Smith Hampton commercial business strengthens the Group. Once completed, we believe that the Group will be in a more advantageous position in our core residential market. The Group remains on course to deliver a full year result in line with the Board’s expectations.”

Source: CoStar