BidX1 acquires London auction house in run-up to UK online launch

Expanded BidX1 business poised to be second in Irish-UK ranking for auctioneers

Allsop-Space  gained prominence during the property crash as a clearing house for residential and commercial properties. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Allsop-Space gained prominence during the property crash as a clearing house for residential and commercial properties. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

BidX1, an Irish-owned online property auction house that once operated as Allsops Ireland, has bought UK in-room auctioneers Andrews & Robertson.

BidX1, which is led by Stephen McCarthy, will use the acquisition as a springboard into Britain, where it plans to aggressively roll out its online platform to become one of the largest property auction houses in Ireland and the UK.

Its online business will operate in tandem with the in-room services that will continue to be provided by the existing management team of Andrews & Robertson, which BidX1 describes as an “omnichannel” strategy.

“We have been planning to launch in the UK for some time. Andrews & Robertson is the ideal partner for us,” said Mr McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy’s Space Property Group previously operated a joint venture in Ireland with UK auctioneers Allsops that gained prominence during the last property crash as a clearing house for residential and commercial properties.

It became popular in the recession with banks and receivers looking to offload properties surrendered by borrowers, due to the auction house’s ability to generate interest among buyers in what was then an otherwise moribund market.

Online focus

Following the property market recovery, Space bought out Allsops from their joint venture last August in a deal estimated to be worth €4 million, and rebranded the operation as BidX1 to focus on online sales.

The deal to expand the business with the takeover of the 163-year-old, London-based Andrews & Robertson firm will now bring BidX1 into direct competition with its old joint-venture partner.

The most recent industry data suggests the expanded BidX1 business will be catapulted to second in the combined Irish-UK ranking for residential and commercial auctioneers, facilitating a combined £337 million worth of property sales last year, including the €255 million generated in Ireland by BidX1.

This puts it ahead of Savills in the rankings, with only Allsops ahead of it. Mr McCarthy’s company says it sold in the region of 650 assets in 2016 for private-equity funds.

BidX1 declined to reveal the price it paid to acquire Andrews & Robertson, which in 2016 generated fees of £1.5 million and profits of £112,000, according to its financial statements.

BidX1 will hold its first online UK auction in the spring, it says. On its platform during an auction, buyers log in remotely and all bids are logged and displayed on the website, and the system flags whether the property’s reserve price has been met.

After the auction concludes, BidX1 sends soft and hard copies of the contracts to both the buyer and seller, mirroring the in-room auction process.