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In a ground-breaking transaction, the first of its kind in UK estate agency, a major traditional estate agency group has formed a partnership with an online agent to market and sell residential property.

Today BrightSale announced that it had sold a 25 per cent equity stake to leading north-west agency group Thornley Groves for an undisclosed sum. In return, BrightSale will list and market all 650 Thornley Groves properties. Thornley Groves Managing Director Michael Groves will join the BrightSale board, and will help the company conclude further partnerships over the coming months. The partnership will take the number of properties listed on BrightSale past the 900 mark.

BrightSale Managing Director Mr Andy Etches said:

"This is a major step forward for UK estate agency. This alliance accelerates BrightSale's growth dramatically, and ensures that many more vendors will benefit from the BrightSale advantage when selling their property. But it also throws down a challenge to the rest of the industry. As Reuters recently pointed out in a major report, the status quo is no longer an option for estate agency. The industry is burdened by excessive costs, poor customer image and a business model unchanged for 100 years. BrightSale offers a genuine opportunity to change this.

We are delighted that the management of Thornley Groves has recognised that BrightSale’s model offers a viable alternative; one that will bring significant benefits to its clients. “

Mr Michael Groves (F.N.A.E.A), Managing Director of Thornley Groves, also heralded the deal as revolutionary:

“We had been searching for a way to bring estate agency into the C21st. Our clients love what we do, but in the internet era they expect more. When we evaluated the functionality that BrightSale has developed we realised that it could complement and extend our own offering substantially. We have written to all our clients explaining this exciting new development, and we expect a very positive response.

In our mind there is no question that estate agency has a long way to go to harness the power of the internet for the benefit of its customers. BrightSale quite simply has the best platform and branding to make that happen.

We believe that before the end of 2009 BrightSale will be a major national player with a very substantial market share. We look forward to working to make that vision a reality.”

ENDS.

About BrightSale

BrightSale was founded in 2006 by Andy Etches and Dr Jeremy Howard. The company has grown rapidly, and has become the UK’s most innovative online estate agency. Unlike other online estate agencies, BrightSale has developed and build all its own systems, and is not reliant on any third party software whatsoever. The company is one of only two new online estate agency ventures to receive venture capital backing, from the private UK-based firm Aspiration Capital Management LLP. BrightSale charges a flat 0.5% (pus VAT) fee and operates from a call centre in Manchester, with offices also in Surrey.

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