Home repair and emergency services business HomeServe is to be sold to a Canadian alternative investment group in a multi-billion pound takeover deal that will net its founder and his wife almost £500m.
The Walsall-based company, which has become one of the UK’s largest national start-up companies since it was founded nearly three decades ago, on Thursday accepted a £12-a-share offer from Brookfield Asset Management that values the company at 4.1 billion pounds.
HomeServe, which is growing in the US, Europe and Asia, was founded by Richard Harpin as a joint venture with South Staffordshire Water in 1993. It has been listed on the FTSE 250 since 2004.
The deal values Harpin’s 7.38% stake and the 4.76% controlled by his wife, Kate, at a total of £495m.
While the offer is a 71% premium to HomeServe’s share price the day before Brookfield’s interest in the company was made public, it is down from the £13.65 peak in 2020 when the group he was seen as a “winner of the pandemic”.
HomeServe said the terms of the offer were “fair and reasonable” and it would recommend the deal to shareholders.
Brookfield said it currently has no plans to break up the business, which directly employs 9,000 people and has tens of thousands of contract dealers on its books, but intends to conduct a strategic review, including the possibility of spinning off parts.
HomeServe’s core business is selling emergency repair insurance through utility providers, but it also owns Checkatrade, the online platform for connecting local merchants with homeowners in need of services.
Harpin, 57, born in Huddersfield, co-founded the business in the 1990s because he found it very difficult to find good dealers to reliably carry out repairs to properties in a rental business he owned at the time.
“HomeServe has grown into a world-class business with one important purpose: to make home repairs and improvements easy for homeowners and tradesmen,” said Harpin.
“I am proud of the company we have built and am delighted that Brookfield is committed to providing long-term capital and global expertise, which I am confident will accelerate progress toward our vision of being the largest and most trusted home repair provider in the world. world. and improvements.”
Toronto-based Brookfield has Mark Carney, a former Bank of England governor, as vice chairman. HomeServe did not comment on whether Harpin would remain with the company under his new ownership structure.