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The group will be one of the largest property services providers in the UK, with over 40,000 properties under management - as well as strong residential sales and professional services businesses. The group has branches in London, and across the South, East Anglia, the Midlands and the North West.

ICG has provided a substantial senior debt facility to support the merger and has committed a further £35 million to enable the new group to continue its successful buy-and-build strategy.

Both businesses have grown strongly since Bowmark backed the respective management buy-outs of Leaders in March 2010 and Romans in September 2013. Whilst the two brands will continue to operate autonomously, combining the expertise of Leaders in lettings with that of Romans in property sales will further enhance the service both provide to landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers. The merger will also enable the group to optimise its operational efficiencies and capitalise on the expected continued strong growth in the lettings and sales markets.

The UK lettings market is worth around £2 billion a year and is growing at 7% p.a., with increasing demand for rental properties driven by the growing population, the shortage and higher cost of housing, and the growing proportion of younger adults who see renting as a preferred lifestyle choice. Meanwhile, strong housing demand is expected to drive an increase in sales transaction numbers, with supply constraints pushing up house prices. The UK residential estate agency market was worth almost £4 billion in 2015 and is forecast to continue growing at over 8% p.a.