Martin & Co sells its Landlord Hub in wake of stock market float

Franchise chain Martin & Co has sold the tenancy referencing and insurance firm that it launched in 2012.

The sale of The Landlord Hub is to LetRisks, which itself was the product of a merger between two referencing firms that same year – Let Insurance Services and PropertyRisks.

The deal is understood to have completed last Friday for a price of £840,000, plus clearance of £400,000 worth of inter-company debt.

The deal also means that Martin & Co franchisees will continue to use The Landlord Hub for three years, at a locked-in price.

Between the two merged companies, the client list includes some stellar estate agency names – for example, Countrywide, Leaders and Romans.

The Landlord Hub business, based in Peterborough, originally launched with just five staff to serve the Martin & Co network.

By February this year, Martin & Co chief executive Ian Wilson said it had grown to a staff headcount of 38, servicing external customers as well as the Martin & Co offices.

Wilson told EYE then: “Originally The Landlord Hub was set up to service Martin & Co exclusively, but when we were preparing for our stock market IPO, our stockbroker told us to hive off The Hub as it was a complication to the investment story.

“Since then it’s gone on from strength to strength as an independent business.”

Yesterday, Wilson confirmed that the sale was in the wake of Martin & Co’s flotation.

He said it had been decided at the turn of this year to sell the business, of which he had stayed on as unpaid managing director.

Back in 2012, Martin & Co recruited Heidi Abbott, now Heidi Shackell, and formerly of HomeLet, to run The Landlord Hub.

Shackell, who reportedly won her case for unfair dismissal against HomeLet, will now become CEO of the merged Landlord Hub and LetRisks business, subject to FCA approval.

Wilson said he would not be surprised if the new merged business did not follow Martin & Co on to the stock market at some point in the future.

He also revealed that in head-hunting the talented Shackell, it had originally been to establish a succession order at Martin & Co, where she would have eventually succeeded him as boss.

While this now looks to be off the cards, Shackell now has a large new business to nurture and grow.

Philip Cook, LetRisks chairman, said: “The Landlord Hub is a relatively new but fast-growing business.

“We are delighted that this merger will take us forward on the next stage of our journey, and maximising the potential of the combined tenant referencing and lettings insurance business.

“This is a great opportunity for both businesses. LetRisks have invested heavily over the last year in technical infrastructure and the management team have years of experience in both the lettings and insurance sectors.

“The Landlord Hub is an innovative, fast-developing business with particular emphasis on their referencing products and customer care.

“Their partnerships with some of the biggest UK letting agencies speaks for itself and I am confident that now the two brands are under one umbrella the future looks very bright for all of us, particularly for our clients.

“We will now quickly move forward with our plans for the future, seeking feedback from our customers to ensure that we more than meet their needs and help them to grow successfully.”


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