Troubled Venmore in talks with a buyer; Staff not paid last week.
TROUBLED Liverpool property group The Venmore Partnership was last night on the verge of being sold to a Wirral-based estate agency chain.
Venmore directors were locked in negotiations with directors of West Kirby-based Bradshaw Farnham & Lea with a view to striking a deal. Venmore partner Phil Cassidy admitted yesterday that Venmore was actively seeking a rescue package for the 150-year-old firm.
Mr Cassidy said that deteriorating conditions in the property market had pushed the company to the brink of collapse. Its 90 staff across Merseyside did not receive their monthly salaries last week.
He added that he and his fellow directors were in talks with a potential suitor which LDP Business understands is Bradshaw Farnham & Lea, which also has offices in Heswall and Hoylake.
It has also emerged that in recent days another prominent Liverpool businessman came close to snapping up Venmore.
Barry Pearson, director of specialist property finance company GB Finance, said last night he had been interested in acquiring the company but that an agreement could not be reached.
"As part of our corporate strategy, we are looking to acquire suitable businesses to which we feel we could give our support.
"However, we could not agree terms that were acceptable so we pulled out of the deal."
The Venmore Partnership dates back 150 years and includes Venmore Thomas & Jones, Ball & Percival, Dears Brack, Phillips & Sons, and Ideal Lettings.
As well as residential sales and lettings, the company was also involved in the commercial property market, auctions and surveys and valuations.
The auctions division had been performing well, as had lettings, but the severe downturn in the housing market has seen the number of transactions fall dramatically having a crippling effect on the business.
In January 2006, Venmore took over a well-established commercial property agency in Liverpool, Dears Brack. Founder Peter Brack has continued to play a prominent role in the enlarged business.