Battle for Britain’s biggest real estate agency Countrywide heats up

PHOTO: Countrywide, which owns Hamptons International and Bairstow Eves

Shares in Britain’s biggest estate agent Countrywide have jumped more than 20 per cent after its rival Connells upped the price of its takeover offer.

Connells made a new offer of 325p per Countrywide share, an extra 75p a share from a previous 250p offer, which Countrywide had rebuffed.

But today the indebted estate agent – which is also being circled by private equity firm Alchemy – said it is ‘evaluating the merits’ of the new offer, which would value it at around £112million.

The news sent shares in Countrywide up 22 per cent to 311.84p at around midday.

Countrywide, which owns Hamptons International and Bairstow Eves, said it was also considering other options, including a second offer from private equity firm Alchemy and raising cash from existing shareholders.

Last week, Alchemy offered to inject £70million into the business, down from a previous £90million, in exchange for a controlling stake of at least 50 per cent. Its plan had previously been rejected by disgruntled shareholders.