Habicus Group, the parent company of serviced apartment agent SilverDoor, has acquired long-standing competitor The Apartment Service.

Details of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition brings together two of the largest global serviced apartment agents with pre-covid turnovers of nearly £100 million for SilverDoor and £30 million for The Apartment Service.

The two companies will operate as separate brands “for now” but will consolidate services, make efficiencies and share best practice, said SilverDoor group CEO Stuart Winstone in an interview with BTN Europe, but does not expect job cuts beyond those already made as a result of the pandemic.

“This acquisition creates by far the largest independent serviced apartment agent in the world,” said Winstone. “The Apartment Service was one of our closest rivals. This is a significant deal for our sector.”

Winstone said the deal was “not Covid-related”, adding: “We’re always looking for opportunities and talking to competitors about the opportunity to acquire them.”

The deal bolsters SilverDoor’s clientbase but also expands its supplier network – from around 1,700 to more than 2,000 once crossover is accounted for – and plugs some geographical gaps in its operations.

“One of the key drivers is The Apartment Service’s experience in Iberia and Latin America. It was somewhere we recognised our existing group wanted to increase our presence,” said Winstone.

“It also increases our status in APAC. We both have offices in Singapore and bringing them together makes us by far the largest agency group in the APAC region.”

The combined businesses will have offices in London, Lancaster, Madrid, Denver, Singapore and Hyderabad, as well as remote workers in Lisbon, Warsaw and Washington.

The acquisition does not include the Roomspace apartment operating business which will be de-merged and retained by The Apartment Service’s CEO Charlie McCrow.

McCrow will additionally stay on with The Apartment Service for a year to oversee the integration of the business and ensure continuity for clients.

“This acquisition by Habicus Group will ensure the best possible opportunity for future growth, the development of our wonderful teams across the world, and the continued ability to provide a world‐class service to our clients,” said McCrow.

Commenting on the decision not to incorporate Roomspace in the deal, Winstone said: “I’m sceptical about the hybrid agent-operator model. I think you need to focus on one and do it well. I really believe in the independent agency model and we don’t want to go into operating apartments. The benefit for our customers is we’re giving completely impartial, agnostic advice every single time. We’ve not got our own stock that we prioritise first.”

Having previously acquired UK-based Citybase in 2016, Winstone expects future acquisitions will be overseas. “We want to increase our strength in the US and we want to increase our strength in Central Europe and in the Middle East – that’s a priority for the group now ahead of any more UK acquisitions.”

• SilverDoor CEO Stuart Winstone discusses the deal and the wider industry here.



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