LJ Hooker chief tight-lipped on sale

LJ Hooker chairman Greg Paramor has confirmed the real estate franchise is testing the market for a potential buyer for the franchise, with a firm decision expected to be made by the end of the year.

In 2009 Suncorp-Metway sold the LJ Hooker franchise and the mortgage broking business to the grandson of Sir Leslie Hooker, Leslie Janus Hooker for $67 million in cash and $15 from pre-completion dividends.

Mr Paramor said the time is ripe to test the market, with the offer likely to "lead to something", however refused to be drawn on a possible suitor or potential sale price.

Speaking exclusively to Real Estate Business, Mr Paramor said the company always had a three to five-year lifespan under the current financial arrangements and "should be wrapped up by the end of the year".

“We don’t want the sale to go on too long whether it is done or not done,” Mr Paramor said.

“We said we would try the market and have a range of options.” LJ Hooker has appointed Lazard to assist with the sale. A Lazard representative refused to comment on the deal.

Industry leaders across Australia believe any interest in the organisation will come from a financial services business or institution and, most likely, an offshore buyer who is looking to increase their international brand.

PRDnationwide managing director Tony Brasier said LJ Hooker is a significant player and it wouldn’t be likely that interest would come from the local area.

“I don’t think a purchaser would be interested in starting a listings portal – I think what might be more relevant is the drop in the Australian dollar,” Mr Brasier said. 

“I think there would be an appetite from offshore to purchase the franchise business as it has a quality recurring income and a solid business … a buyer would find such a purchase to be attractive.”

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