Countrywide, the UK's largest mortgage broker and property services group, has acquired network and mortgage club Mortgage Intelligence.
Mortgage Intelligence's Sally Laker will continue to oversee the business as managing director. She will report to Nigel Stockton, Countrywide's financial services director, and will also join Countrywide's senior management team.
The acquisition will take Countrywide's mortgage market share to 6% of the total market and more than 11% of the intermediary market.
Since launch in 1996, Mortgage Intelligence, which merged with Mortgage Next in 2009, has become one of the UK's largest mortgage distribution channels. It provides broker services to over 6,500 mortgage intermediaries under the Mortgage Intelligence and Mortgage Next brands.
Mortgage Intelligence will continue to operate independently of Countrywide's existing 650 mortgage consultants following the deal.
Grenville Turner, chief executive of Countrywide, says: "The broker market has endured some challenging times over recent years; the acquisition of Mortgage Intelligence / Mortgage Next signals an exciting new chapter for their members and Countrywide.
"Work is already underway to see how we can use our expertise to introduce unique benefits to clients of both networks, which we will be sharing details of over the coming months."
Nigel Stockton, financial services director at Countrywide, says: "We feel this acquisition will significantly enhance our position as the UK's largest mortgage broker and will add another dimension to our strong financial services offering.
"Countrywide's long-term strategy is to improve the scope and scale of its financial services offering to give all our agents, consultants and new IFA clients the best selling tools in the market. We will also be actively talking to firms and representatives about our new proposition with Mortgage Intelligence and the benefits we can offer."
Sally Laker, managing director of Mortgage Intelligence, said: "Countrywide is extremely well capitalised, dynamic and forward thinking which will enable us to deliver some very attractive incentives for new and existing members alike while still maintaining the special culture that our members love.
"This deal is fantastic news for our staff and members; I look forward to continuing to work with them and our new colleagues at Countywide."
The chairman discusses his surprise holiday job
Three months on
Regulator has stepped in
More than £70m spent on project