CastleGate Investments, a private family fund owned by eShopWorld founder Tommy Kelly, has bought Ireland's largest estate agent group Sherry FitzGerald.

The parties have not disclosed the price paid, but it is understood to be in the region of €50m.

The Sherry FitzGerald group’s founder and former majority shareholder, Mark FitzGerald, is to step down as chairman but has agreed to act as strategic advisor to the board.

"Irish housing is a complex subject, and we were keen to find investors who had a curiosity to improve the experience for consumers, rather than just follow economic activity," he said.

CastleGate is led by former Goodbody Stockbrokers chief executive, Roy Barrett, who will now become chair of the estate agent group.

"We are excited to invest in Sherry FitzGerald, one of the foremost brands in the country and one that has earned the respect and trust of consumers nationwide over many decades," he said.

"Building on its success to date we see great scope for incremental growth and added value services for Sherry FitzGerald customers alongside excellent career progression opportunities for Group and franchisee colleagues."

The current Sherry FitzGerald CEO, Steven McKenna, is to remain in his role as will the entire senior management team.

"I am delighted that we are starting a new chapter with such a dynamic and forward-thinking investor," said Mr McKenna.

"CastleGate Investments share our ambition for the future and supports our commitment to the highest standards of service in the industry."

"As a former adviser to the company, Roy understands the sector, the business and its professional ethos and ambition for its clients."

CastleGate already has a global investment portfolio that straddles public and private markets.

It recently led a €21 million funding round for Dublin-based IT security company CWSI.