LJ Hooker and Barry Plant confirmed to REB in a statement that the two parties have engaged in high-level talks.
“LJ Hooker and Barry Plant have had initial talks and are continuing their discussions,” the statement said.
“The deal would bring together two of Australia’s largest and most successful real estate groups.
“No deal has been reached, but if it did proceed the offices of LJ Hooker and Barry Plant would continue to operate under their own strong brands and under the same executive leadership of their franchisors.”
Although the two groups did not specify what their talks are about, The Australian has reported that LJ Hooker “is said to be eyeing a stake” in Barry Plant or would “perhaps strike a joint venture”.
Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy told The Australian that Barry Plant was not for sale, but had been discussing “synergies” or a “joint venture” with LJ Hooker.
“We have certainly had discussions with LJ Hooker, as we have with a number of groups, and those discussions broadly are getting to the pointier end,” the paper reported.
“Where they go from here we are not quite sure. They could go somewhere or they may go nowhere. It’s too early to tell."
REB asked LJ Hooker if the talks with Barry Plant had anything to do with the stock market flotation that the company is believed to be pursuing, but LJ Hooker did not address the question in the joint statement.
LJ Hooker has about 600 offices throughout Australia, while Barry Plant has 80 offices in Melbourne and regional Victoria.