Belfast Telegraph

BNP Paribas in takeover talks with estate agent Strutt & Parker

BNP Paribas is in takeover talks with estate agent Strutt & Parker as France's biggest bank looks to strengthen its foothold in the UK property market, it has been reported.

The upmarket estate agency has been up for sale for a while as it grapples with falling prices for high-end London property, according to the Financial Times

Discussions over a deal have been ongoing for a number of months, with the French lender taking a keen interest in buying the estate agent's commercial property arm.

The bank may also seek to join forces with another group which could snap up Strutt & Parker's residential property business.

Savills said in January that p roperty prices fell by 6.9% year-on-year in prime central London, which includes Kensington, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Westminster and Notting Hill.

Changes to the way stamp duty is charged, which have made the tax cheaper for most buyers but more expensive for buyers at the top end of the market, have been blamed for cooling the market in prime central London.

Strutt & Parker saw sales drop 3% to £107.7 million in the year to April 30, while pre-tax profits sunk from £28 million to £18.3 million over the period.

BNP Paribas, which employs around 7,500 people in the UK, recorded revenues of 43.4 billion euro (£37.7 billion) in the year to the end of December.

Strutt & Parker and BNP Paribas declined to comment.