Two independent Yorkshire estate agency chains - who between them have helped more than 100,000 people move home - have joined forces, it was announced today (22 November 2018).
Linley & Simpson has acquired the residential sales and lettings business of Ilkley-headquartered Dale Eddison - crowned the UK’s Best Small Agency in the industry’s Oscars earlier this year.
The deal has resulted in Linley & Simpson buying Dale Eddison’s five offices - located in Ilkley, Otley, Guiseley, Silsden and Skipton – to extend its presence across the sought-after Wharfe and Aire Valleys. They will continue to operate under the Dale Eddison brand.
The acquisition – completed for an undisclosed sum – is the fourth to take place since Linley & Simpson secured the backing of LDC, the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investor, in June this year.
LDC partnered with co-founders Will Linley and Nick Simpson to support and accelerate the business’ growth plans, and over the past six months has helped the team to deliver its buy-and-build strategy. This included acquiring the lettings portfolio of another long-established Ilkley agent, Angus Roberts.
The Dale Eddison team of 43 staff – including directors Bill Dale, William Eddison and Gary Shankland – remain with the business to ensure client services continue seamlessly.
“Dale Eddison has a deserved reputation for quality among the communities it serves - borne out by being voted ‘Britain’s best’ by its clients,” said chief executive of Leeds-headquartered Linley & Simpson, Will Linley. “We are delighted they have now joined our family of branches.
“By pooling our home-grown Yorkshire expertise, we aim to enhance the portfolio of market-leading services we offer all our buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords.
“This is a transformational deal that is a great fit for us strategically and geographically. This synergy gives us the platform to add an extra dimension to the service we already offer our customers in Ilkley, as well as taking us onto the High Street of neighbouring areas for the first time.
“We can now take advantage of more than four decades of collective estate agency expertise to drive customer service improvements and lead industry innovation across the area – one that is growing in popularity as a place to live.”
He added: “This acquisition signals our confidence in the future of Yorkshire’s residential property market - and investing in it.
“Our sector is heading along a consolidation curve, where the scale of the challenges ahead will ensure that only the fittest will survive and thrive. Our ability to re-invest puts us on the strongest footing to be a market leader and keep pace with a changing property world of the future.”
Dale Eddison joint founder Bill Dale said: “We are thrilled to be becoming part of another national award-winning agency – especially one which has strong Yorkshire roots, the same traditional values, and shares our passion for properties and the people who live in them.”
Gareth Marshall, investment director at LDC in Yorkshire & North East, added: “This latest acquisition rounds off a stellar six months for Linley & Simpson. It’s been fantastic to see Will and Nick’s buy-and-build strategy take off since our partnership began in June this year. The business is quickly increasing its footprint in Yorkshire and firmly cementing its position as a leading agent in the region.”
Following this week’s deal, the Dale Eddison offices will continue to operate as they do now with the exception of Ilkley. Here, the established Linley & Simpson office on Brook Street will now focus exclusively on lettings, while its new Dale Eddison sister branch on The Grove will specialise in sales.
When Will Linley and Ilkley's Nick Simpson launched their agency 21 years ago, they did so with just two offices in Leeds - Horsforth and Roundhay - and a handful of staff. Now, following this latest deal, it employs a team of more than 220 staff across an interlinked network of branches across West and North Yorkshire.
In addition to those acquired as part of the deal, they include Leeds city centre, Horsforth, Roundhay, Chapel Allerton, Harrogate, Ripon, Wetherby, Saltaire, Wakefield and York.
Linley & Simpson was assisted in this deal by Simon Morris, Head of Corporate at Raworths solicitors in Harrogate; and by Grant Thornton in Leeds, who provided financial and tax due diligence.