Property consultant Eddisons is set to become the dominant force in the north of England auctions market after acquiring long-time competitor Pugh & Co for £2m.
Together, the two houses sold more than £100m of property at auction last year, and the combined firm will be the third largest in the UK by employees.
Pugh’s 25 staff will join Eddisons to create a team of 36, led by Pugh’s managing director Paul Thompson.
Both auction houses hold sales in Leeds and Manchester, with Eddisons headquartered in Leeds and Pugh based near Warrington. “Eddisons has a strong auctions capability in the North East, and Pugh in the North West,” said Richard Roe, managing director of Eddisons.
Roe described the process as a “long courtship”, with Eddisons initially approaching Pugh prior to the former’s acquisition by Begbies Traynor in 2014. “We’ve never quite been able to knock each other off the number one spot: it’s a genuine case of one plus one equals three,” he said.
The new business will hold single auctions in Manchester and Leeds under the Pugh brand from July this year, and Roe said the merger will result in an additional 20-30 lots being offered at each auction.
Pugh was acquired for a £2m cash sum, but former owner Thompson could net a final total of £4.6m if the combined business achieves its financial targets over the next five years.
Roe said Begbies Traynor acquired Eddisons as a “platform to expand”, and that the addition of Pugh to its stable will push this further, with a view to eventually holding auctions across the country. Eddisons held London auctions between 2012 and 2015, and could be set to return to the market.
“The aim is to acquire a London presence and become a national entity,” said Roe, who is confident that the auction market can weather economic uncertainty.
“During the recession the auction market moved toward insolvency clients and distressed portfolios, but now it is migrating back to private clients,” he added. “It’s ridden every economic cycle.”
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