Countrywide “may not survive the current challenges”

One of Countrywide PLC’s larger investors has writtent to chairman Peter Long saying that, “there are risks the company in its present form may not survive the current challenges.”

Jeremy Hosking, the co founder of Marathon Asset Management, an investment portfolio service, holds a 7.8% stake in Countrywide. His personal fortune is estimated at around £375m.

The Sunday Times reported that Hosking wants Countrywide to gift to its staff 15% of the company’s shares so as to give them a stake in the future of the business and a direct participation in any performance improvements.

“We can see a huge upside if all goes well,” wrote Hosking.

The historic decline of Countrywide’s share price is all too familiar.

From a soaring height five years ago, after a disastrous foray into a ‘retail’ approach to agency the shares now languish at around 115p and there is little prospect of a major upturn in the foreseeable future.

Recently the company attempted to sell off Lambert Smith Hampton, its commercial arm, but the deal collapsed at the last minute.

Hosking clearly believes that unless the company takes radical steps to beef up its performance its long-term survival may be in doubt.


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  1. smile please

    A handful of shares to employees will not change anything.


    Problems are deep rooted. Staff churn is high, moral is low, and they are outdated.


    Most of their serious competitors these days are not Connells, LSL, Arun or Spicerhaart or even onliners. They are up against well run independent firms who have invested in great photos, 3d tours, track and trace systems and have happy loyal staff.


    Staff at the corporates are overworked, underpaid, not valued, demotivated, have little in the way of support and a culture of your best is not good enough.


    I honestly cannot see how CW will turn this around. Its not a case any longer of getting in good regional M.D’s or regional managers (it was) the rot has taken hold of market share and the business full stop.


    A CW branch near us offer 0.9% fees and still have less than a dozen properties on the books. Its not a sinking ship ……its sunk!

    1. whatdoiknow58

      A once market leading business now only a shadow of it’s former self and with still around 30% of their Branches yet to re-open seemingly no confidence from the BODS in the business moving forwards either. Happy to keep Branch staff on furlough and keep taking the Governments cash to reduce their debt pile is hardly showing confidence in either the market or their staff whilst their competitors hoover  up around them as they stand idle.

    2. chiponshoulder

      Another lazy/sweeping generalisation.  So, ‘all corporates’ are the same – they all overwork/underpay their demotivated staff, whilst of course ‘all independents’ are wonderful!    Really????

      Connells looked after their staff fantastically well throughout this crisis … they topped up basic pay for all furloughed staff to 100% for April, May, June and July plus paying commission.   Social media was littered with posts from hundreds of their staff gushing with praise for not just the financial support, but also the excellent levels of communication, guidance and reassurance as well as a swift and safe return to work plan.

      Stop labelling all corporates together.   Just like independents … there are good and bad.

    3. MrEstateAgent

      You hit the nail sweetly on the head with your comment Smile.

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.


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