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Linley & Simpson consolidates Yorkshire footprint with two Sheffield acquisitions

15 Dec 2020

One of the North’s leading residential letting agents has launched in Sheffield after clinching a brace of acquisition deals.

Linley & Simpson has taken over the rental portfolios of two independent agencies in England’s fourth largest city – the long-established pair of Lewis Wadsworth and Sheffield Residential.

The deals have transferred around 750 homes from across the Steel City into Linley & Simpson’s management. As a result, its own letting portfolio across Yorkshire and the Humber has grown to more than 11,000 properties.

They represent the fifth and sixth businesses purchased by Leeds-headquartered Linley & Simpson amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as its strategic growth continues at pace and scale across the region.

The new Sheffield base, which will be housed in the former city centre offices of Lewis Wadsworth in Queen Street, marks Linley & Simpson’s 22nd High Street branch.

Its Chief Executive Will Linley, who founded the independent agency alongside director Nick Simpson in Yorkshire in 1997 with just two branches, said: “Sheffield is an international city very much on an upward curve. It is brimming with rental potential, and we are excited to open our doors there for the first time.

“We already have a strong network across other key Northern Powerhouse districts such as Leeds, York and Hull, so launching in a city the size of Sheffield represents a natural step. It’s a perfect geographical fit.

“With an ambitious programme of new build, a growing population of well over 550,000 people, an economy worth an estimated £12bn, and world-leading businesses, hospitals and universities, Sheffield had long been a prime target for us.

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Already, we are actively exploring other letting agency acquisition opportunities in and around the city to augment our presence there. That’s a signal of the high confidence we have in Sheffield and in the future of the private rented sector.”
Will Linley, Chief Executive
Linley & Simpson

Lewis Wadsworth has been meeting the needs of landlords and tenants in the city for over 30 years, while the work of Sheffield Residential has been recognised at national industry awards more than a dozen times in the last decade.

Mr Linley added: “We are thrilled to have acquired two market-leading and like-minded independent agencies of this calibre to form our Sheffield launch pad. We are delighted that they have both chosen to entrust us with their properties and clients, and to take forward the high-quality services they have built up.”

Other acquisitions struck recently have seen Linley & Simpson launch in strategic target areas of Hull, Beverley, Holmfirth, near Huddersfield, and Bingley, near Bradford, as well as strengthen its coverage across Leeds, where the agency was first established with only a handful of staff. It now employs a team of 260 people and was crowned Best Large Agency in the latest Yorkshire Residential Property Awards.

These latest acquisitions – completed for undisclosed sums – are the 16th and 17th to take place since Linley & Simpson secured the backing of LDC, the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investor, in June 2018 to accelerate its growth plans.

Gareth Marshall at LDC said: “This acquisition is a homecoming for Linley & Simpson. When we started working with Will and Nick, they had their eyes firmly set on geographical expansion. Now, after successful recent moves into the Pennine Corridor and Humberside, it’s great to see the business consolidate its Yorkshire footprint with its first foray into the region’s biggest city.

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It’s been another incredible year of growth for Linley & Simpson, all achieved against a backdrop of uncertainty. We’re confident the business will continue to build on its position as one of the UK’s fastest growing letting agencies in the year ahead.”
Gareth Marshall
LDC

Over thew past two years, LDC-backed businesses across the UK have acquired more than 50 companies with a total enterprise value of over £250million. Two-thirds of its portfolio is currently using a buy and build strategy.