LSL explains the £9.1m Mortgages First acquisition – exclusive

by: LSL’s residential development and investments chairman, James McAuley
  • 26/02/2016
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LSL explains the £9.1m Mortgages First acquisition – exclusive
Last week, LSL Property Services bought a 65% interest in mortgage and protection advice firm, Group First Limited for millions in cash.

The Colchester-based company offers specialist new home mortgage advice through its subsidiaries, Mortgages First and Insurance First Brokers.

In time, depending on the 2018 audited accounts, LSL’s put and call investments could increase its holding to 100% of the advice business. LSL’s residential development and investments chairman, James McAuley (pictured) unpacks the deal.

“Following our acquisition of Mortgages First Limited (MF), it’s understandable that some may question whether this could be the start of more acquisitions of this kind in the market. For LSL, it’s not something we feel we can predict, and nor would we want to – who knows what other businesses may have planned or have in the pipeline? For us the acquisition of MF simply made sense.

“The fact is we didn’t have a new homes mortgage specialism and yet knew that to remain competitive, we needed one. Our first assumption was that we’d need to develop one ourselves from scratch. This would involve developing systems, processes, employing more staff – some of which we’d have to train – and then roll out the service ourselves. It could have taken years.

“And then an opportunity arose.

“We became aware of MF’s desire to sell and discovered over time that they had already made some headway but, despite this, they still chose to approach LSL – and the rest, as they say, is history.

“We’ve acquired exactly what we were looking to develop ourselves – an established, well respected and fully operational business with a management team that we feel fully confident in and we know will lead the business and maintain LSL’s reputation for providing highly quality customer services. The added benefit being that we could literally ‘hit the ground running’.

“There was also the reassurance from both sides that the same staff could continue to be employed by MF – only now they would benefit from being part of one of the UK’s largest property service providers.

“Overall it’s been a win-win solution for both sides. We knew what we wanted, and MF did too, and we’re both very pleased with the outcome.”

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