Swedish private equity backed Odevo today acquired HML / the Vegner Group, making it one smallish acquisition away from replacing FirstPort as the largest management outfit in the country.
The annoucement is here , making HML / the Vegner Group the fourth acquisition in two years after Rendall and Rittner, Premier and Trinity Estates, whose business overwhelmingly comes from developers.
On the other hand, HML / the Vegner Group almost wholly gets its business from leaseholder controlled management companies.
It is understood that the businesses will retain some autonomy and separate cultures, but the takeover is bad news for those who believe that the leasehold sector would benefit from a wide variety of different companies.
It means that Odevo now manages more than 300,000 properties, with FirstPort owned by French group Emeria managing around 320,000 – either as appointed managing agent to blocks of flats or, via “fleecehold”, owning private estate management companies.
Both groups now represent more than 50% of the membership of the managing agents’ trade body ARMA and very likely providing more than 50% of the income of the professional training body, the IRPM. Both ARMA and IRPM are attempting to rebrand as the Property Institute.
After the two giants, the next largest ARMA member manages a mere 40,000 properties, although there are some bigger non-members such as Countrywide with about 100,000.
Odevo is backed by a consortium consisting of the Swedish private equity fund Fidelio and family investment company L E Lundbergsforetagen AB. Companies House filings list Erika Martinson as controlling between 25% and 50% of the voting rights in Wexford HoldCo, Rendall & Rittner’s owner. According to Forbes magazine, Ms Martinson is a 14% shareholder in L E Lundbergsforetagen AB and is worth an estimated $1.8 billion.
HML MD Alec Guthrie is quoted:
“The Vegner Group Ltd is a forward-thinking provider of collective services which includes property management via HML, Faraday and Dauntons Soar, building surveying via Shaw and Company Surveyors and a specialist service offering solutions to existing property professionals via Bhive Block Management Partners.
“The Vegner Group enhance the delivery of these services through their back-offices; B-hive Property Solutions, designed to support property professionals serving the leasehold market.
“The Vegner Group’s back-office solutions ensure compliance through our client finance and service charge accounting services and our “essential services” – many of which are for statutory or regulatory requirements that are necessary for buildings during the management life cycle. To date, the Vegner Group has experienced significant growth and has successfully expanded its portfolio, both organically and by acquisition.”