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HomeServe agrees £4bn takeover by Canadian investment group

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<span>Photograph: MBI/Alamy</span>
Photograph: MBI/Alamy

The domestic repair and emergency services business HomeServe is to be sold to a Canadian alternative investment group in a multibillion-pound takeover deal that will net its founder and his wife almost £500m.

The Walsall-based company, which has grown into one of the UK’s largest domestic emergency businesses since being founded nearly three decades ago, accepted a £12-a-share offer from Brookfield Asset Management on Thursday that values the business at £4.1bn.

HomeServe, which is growing in the US, Europe and Asia, was founded by Richard Harpin as a joint venture with South Staffordshire Water in 1993. It has been listed on the FTSE 250 since 2004.

The deal values Harpin’s 7.38% stake, and the 4.76% controlled by his wife, Kate, at a combined £495m.

While the offer is a 71% premium on HomeServe’s share price the day before Brookfield’s interest in the company became public, it is lower than the £13.65 peak in 2020 when the group was seen as a “pandemic winner”.

HomeServe said the terms of the offer were “fair and reasonable” and it would recommend the deal to shareholders.

Brookfield said it has no current plans to break up the business, which employs 9,000 people directly and has tens of thousands of contracted tradespeople on its books, but intends to carry out a strategic review, including looking at whether parts could be spun off.

HomeServe’s core business is selling emergency repairs insurance through utilities suppliers but it also owns Checkatrade, the online platform for matching local tradespeople to homeowners needing services.

Huddersfield-born Harpin, 57, co-founded the business in the 90s because he found it so hard to find good tradespeople to reliably carry out repairs at properties in a housing rental business he owned at the time.

“HomeServe has become a world-class business with an important purpose – to make home repairs and improvements easy for homeowners and trades,” said Harpin.

“I am proud of the company we have built and am delighted that Brookfield is committed to providing long-term capital and global expertise, which I am confident will accelerate progress towards our vision to be the world’s largest, most-trusted provider of home repairs and improvements.”

Brookfield, based in Toronto, has Mark Carney, the former governor of the Bank of England, as its vice-chairman. HomeServe would not comment on whether Harpin would remain with the company under its new ownership structure.

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