Billionaire property duo the Candy brothers have decided to part ways, ending one of the most iconic property partnerships to have existed in the UK.
The brothers, who formed their company Candy & Candy in 2001, have ceased working together after 23 years as a property duo, the Mail on Sunday reported.
Nick, 45, and Christian, 43, have endured 23 years of impressive highs and well-publicised lows throughout their career.
Some say the split has been spiky, but the Surrey-born brothers insist it is amicable.
A source told the newspaper: “Christian instigated discussions – he has wanted out for a long while and they haven’t worked together for some time.”
Last month, Nick changed the business name from Candy & Candy to Candy Property, putting the new firm entirely into his name.
The change comes after a difficult year for the duo.
In December, the Candy brothers successfully defended a £132 million damages claim brought by former friend and businessman, Mark Holyoake, who had accused them of a campaign of bullying, blackmail and intimidation.
Holyoake claimed the brothers coerced him into a disastrous series of deals which saw him repay more than £37 million on a £12 million loan.
Although the court decided in favour of the Candys, it left their reputation bruised, with the judge stating: “None of the protagonists emerge from the trial with great credit.”
Meanwhile, Candy & Candy Limited, the luxury interior design and development business where Nick is the sole shareholder, was reported to have made a £1.5 million loss last year. It was suggested that the business has slumped as the London market has become increasingly competitive.
The business has encountered other problems over the years, including a lengthy legal battle over the development of the Chelsea Barracks site in London.
Also in 2010, they lost millions of dollars on a property deal in Beverley Hills California, admitting that they overpaid for the site, but were also undermined by the collapse of one of their investors, the Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
The Candy brothers accused the Qatari royal family of dropping the £3 billion plans for Chelsea Barracks in London after Prince Charles objected to the modernist development, according to the BBC. They won a partial victory in 2010.
The Epsom College-educated brothers’ first purchase was a one-bedroom flat in London’s Earl’s Court in 1995.
By 2004, they were developing the landmark One Hyde Park apartments in Knightsbridge, known as the most expensive residential development ever built.
A spokesman for Nick said that he had been running the firm solo since 2011, and added: “The name change is designed to remove any confusion that there are still two parties involved.”
DMZ thinks the split could be for administrative and/or tax purposes rather than the result of a fall-out between the brothers.
Shrewd operators like Nick and Christian may be protecting themselves from future earnings or legal action like the recent Holyoake case.
The move represents the end of an era for the property industry, but it also marks a new beginning as we wait to see what the brothers embark upon as solo acts.