US giant Berkshire Hathaway ramps up PCL presence with Knightsbridge agency acquisition

EXCLUSIVE: Warren Buffet’s global real estate network moves into ‘London’s true super-prime neighbourhoods’ with the takeover of 163-year-old firm Marler & Marler.

Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices has acquired one of the oldest estate agencies in Prime Central London, PrimeResi can reveal.

Three years after the US-based franchise network made its first foray into the UK market via a deal with luxury agency Kay & Co, 163-year-old Knightsbridge firm Marler & Marler has also joined the fold. The move extends BHHS’s reach into some of the capital’s most exclusive neighbourhoods south of Hyde Park.

The boutique outfit, which specialises in the markets of Knightsbridge, Kensington, South Kensington, Belgravia and Chelsea, is being rebranded to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices London Marler & Marler, and will continue to operate from its first-floor base on Sloane Street. M&M’s longstanding partners Martin Greenland and Alun Jones remain at the helm, and said they “look forward to expanding the business both in London and nationally”.

Run by Samuel and Martin Bikhit, BHHS London is the network’s exclusive UK franchisee, and has existing branches in Marylebone, Hyde Park and Kings Cross trading under the BHHS London Kay & Co brand. The plan is to add “up to ten” more standalone offices in the capital over the next decade, via acquisitions and JVs with “best-in-class agencies”.

The firm launched a specialist property finance business, called Connaught Private Finance, last year.

HQ-ed in California, BHHS was founded by octogenarian finance guru Buffet in 2013, and has since built a roster of over 50,000 agents and nearly 1,500 offices around the world. Key territories include the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, UAE and India.

Samuel & Martin Bikhit

Samuel Bikhit, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices London and Martin Bikhit, Managing Director: “Strategically a presence south of Hyde Park absolutely had to be our first point of call as we develop the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand in London. The prominent Sloane Street location of Marler & Marler gives us coverage of London’s true super-prime neighbourhoods and markets, within which our now hugely expanded global client base regularly seek our assistance in finding new homes. Marler & Marler is a business with an impressive heritage of 163 years and a valuable database of loyal HNW and UHNW clients which we intend to build upon significantly in the coming years. With the support of Mark, Alun and their incredible longstanding team, coupled with our ability to leverage the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices global network and resources, we intend to take this amazing business to even greater heights.”

Mark Greenland and Alun Jones, both Partners at Marler & Marler: “We hugely admire Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ mantra of ‘relationships over transactions’ and their ‘forever agent’ ideology of which they have become revered around the world for. We are truly excited about the exceptional opportunity the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices brand represents and we look forward to expanding the business both in London and nationally – thanks to the global reach of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices – and embarking on this new chapter.”

Chris Stuart, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices: “We are delighted that this process of incorporating Marler & Marler into the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network has finally come to fruition and they could not be a better fit for our brand. Not just anyone can be part of our network – unlike many companies who we speak to Marler & Marler passed with flying colours and we are so happy to welcome them into our world-renowned network. We have been operating in London for three years now and have enjoyed phenomonal growth over this period, so it is absolutely the right time to be broadening our presence within this fantastic, truly global city.”

Read PrimeResi’s exclusive interview with Samuel and Martin Bikhit here, in which they discuss the background to the deal, the next stage of the BHHS acquisition drive, and why the ‘escape to the country’ trend is just a fad…