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For the former United States sub-prime mortgage loan company, see Countrywide Financial
Countrywide plc
Traded as LSECWD
Industry Estate agents
Founded 1986
Headquarters Chelmsford, Essex
Key people
Robert Davies (Chairman)
Alison Platt, (CEO) Jim Clarke, (CFO)
Revenue £ 718.7 million (2015)[1]
£ 91.9 million (2015)[1]
£ 41.8 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
12,000 (2016)[2]

Countrywide PLC is the United Kingdom's largest estate agency group.[3] It employs 11,300 personnel nationwide, working across 1,500 estate agency or lettings offices operating under 47 local high street brands, supplemented by 650 mortgage consultants.[2] Countrywide is listed on the London Stock Exchange.


In 1986, financial services company Hambros plc, having de-merged its banking arm, acquired two estate agents, Bairstow Eves and Mann & Co, to form a new company called Hambro Countrywide plc, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange. In 1988, the company created Hambro Assured, then the UK's largest life insurance broker. The group then grew through acquisition, buying Nationwide estate agents and surveyors from Nationwide Building Society in 1994, Spencers from National and Provincial Building Society in 1995 and London firms Faron Sutaria, PKL and John D Wood & Co. in 1997.

In 1998 the business was renamed Countrywide Assured plc and demerged from Hambros plc. After creating a franchise opportunity under the Bairstow Eves brand, the group then restarted its acquisition trail acquiring Friends Provident estate agents and surveyors (in return for long term license to resell Friends Provident financial products) in 2002. The life assurance business was demerged as Chesnara plc in May 2004.[4]

In 2004 it acquired Freeman Foreman group[5] as well as the estate agency business of Bradford and Bingley Building Society.[6]

In 2007, the company was 100% acquired by Apollo Management for a sum over £1bn,[7] and de-listed from the London Stock Exchange. Following debt restructuring, the owners included Apollo Management, Oaktree Capital Management and Alchemy Partners.[8]

In March 2013, Countrywide plc was re-listed on the London Stock Exchange.[9]

Countrywide acquired the southwest Wales estate agency John Francis in 2015.[10]



  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "About Countrywide". Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  3. ^ "Top 50 League Table of Residential Estate Agency Offices". January 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  4. ^ "Welcome to Chesnara plc". Chesnara plc. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "Countrywide has acquired Freeman Forman". Business Sale. 20 August 2004. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "Leicester Independent Surveyors". Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  7. ^ Helen Power (1 April 2007). "Battle rages for Britain's biggest estate agent". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  8. ^ "About Us". Countrywide. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  9. ^ "Banks provide £100m of post-IPO financing for Countrywide plc". HSBC. 10 April 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  10. ^ "Estate agent to benefit from takeover". Pembrokeshire Herald. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 

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