Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Midas Touch Lloyds Banking Group sale of Heal

The 23rd October 09 edition of the estate agents magazine "The Negotiator" has an introduction editorial "The Midas touch" regarding the Lloyds Banking Group's proposed sale of the Halifax Estate Agents (HEAL) to the LSL Group.

The HEAL network had reported losses of over the past three years of some £51.1m and naturally following on from last autumn's problems with the Government injecting money into the group, that would be one area they would want to dispose of fast.

Lloyds Bank and TSB were early players in buying up chains of estate agents in the 1980's. Lloyds created "Black Horse Agencies" and TSB had "TSB Property Services". The Halifax soon followed. Lloyds and TSB before they merged and became Lloyds TSB was to retain the local name they had paid a lot for, like Gascoigne-Pees, Stimpsons.

The Halifax paid a lot of money for well known local names and re-branded them as "Halifax" so that the consumer would associate their local estate agent with the Halifax Building Society. The Leeds Permanent Building Society also like other building societies set up it's own network of estate agents. Like Lloyds, they kept the local trading names they had paid for like Gale & Power, Frank Farr

When Halifax and The Leeds Permanent merged, the original trading names of the old Leeds Group were retained and there is still a Frank Farr branch in the Langley, Berkshire.

Had there been no banking crisis in 2008, it would be interesting to know how much longer the Halifax group would have retained their network for.

According to the interview with Simon Embley of LSL in The Negotiator, the branches taken over will be rebranded to fall into their existing network of names like Your Move, Reeds Rains and Intercounty. At LSL is using well known brand names they have paid for.

Another chapter in the estate agency cycle in the UK. What will happen in the next 10 years?

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