The transaction is the first acquisition by Castlegate since former Goodbody MD Roy Barrett was appointed to manage Mr Kelly’s €500m fortune last year
Castlegate Investments, the private family office investment vehicle of Eshopworld founder Tommy Kelly, has bought leading estate agent Sherry FitzGerald for an estimated €50m.
The deal sees Castlegate take 100pc ownership of the property company at the top of a hot market, earning a major €25m payout for founder and former 50pc shareholder Mark FitzGerald.
Mr FitzGerald will now act as a strategic adviser to the Sherry FitzGerald board, which will be chaired by Castlegate chief executive Roy Barrett.
The transaction is the first acquisition by Castlegate since Mr Barrett, the former managing director of Goodbody Stockbrokers, was appointed to manage Mr Kelly’s €500m fortune last year.
Castlegate said the purchase is part of a larger investment in the Sherry FitzGerald business and its growth strategy.
Mr Barret, a former adviser to Sherry FitzGerald, said there was “great scope for incremental growth and added value services” at the company.
Sherry FitzGerald CEO Stephen McKenna, who is staying in place as part of the deal, said Castlegate had a shared ambition for the future of the company and the Mr Barrett understands the firm’s ethos.
Sherry FitzGerald is understood to have been up for sale for about a year with many potential buyers making approaches.
The 40 year old company is Ireland’s largest estate agents with 103 offices, including 73 run by franchisees, and 550 employees. The firm is active across residential, new homes, commercial, letting and financial services.
The deal comes as residential property prices continue to post double-digit gains annually among persistent supply shortages and high demand, although the value of commercial transactions in the market has declined post-Covid.
Castlegate manages the family fund of Mr Kelly, who sold his remaining 49.9pc stake in ESW in March 2021 in a deal valuing the business at more than €1bn.
Prior to founding Castlegate, Mr Kelly’s other investments included some properties and a golf course.
In an early move to diversify, Castlegate recently led a €21m funding round for Dublin-based IT security company CWSI.