Activist investor calls on Purplebricks chair to resign after increasing stake

An activist investor, which yesterday increased its stake in Purplebricks to 4.2%, is calling on the chairman of the online estate agency to resign, citing a significant drop in the company’s share price and rapid level of cash burn.

Shares in Purplebricks have dropped sharply since it listed on Aim in 2015, after a series of profit warnings and operational blunders, causing market value to shrink to just over £45m, from £240m.

Shares in the AIM-listed firm currently stand at a near record-low of just 15.14p, which is down significantly from 103p at the start of last year.

Shares in the online estate agent have plummeted since its all-time high in 2017 of 525p, with recent regulatory failings, contributing to that decline. The significant fall in the firm’s share price has caused many investors to sell up, concerned that Purplebricks might be vulnerable to a takeover.

Purplebricks, who are currently facing a class action lawsuit from over 100 former agents who believe they were entitled to the benefits given to permanent employees, despite being classed as self-employed, has seen Lecram Holdings, the investment vehicle of Adam Smith, increase its stake in the company over the past month.

A letter to its chairman, Paul Pindar, on behalf of Lecram Holdings, the investment vehicle of Adam Smith, says that “urgent action is now essential” to restore the credibility of the company with investors”.

Pindar, a former chief executive of outsourcing giant Capita, has been non-executive chair since 2015. But Lecram argued that he should step down in favour of a someone with the “necessary experience and skills to address urgently the company’s continuing cash burn and operating performance within the residential estate agency sector”.

A Purplebricks spokesperson told EYE: “We sought to meet with Lecram Holdings to discuss their concerns. They declined. Its’ disappointing that they chose to go to the media instead, rather than engage with us.

“The board is well aware of the urgent need to turn around the performance of the business and become cash flow positive in the near term. We have already implemented a number of initiatives to achieve this under the new leadership of Helena Marston and look forward to setting out our plans in detail as part of our results announcement in early August.”

Purplebricks was due to announce full-year results today, but publication has been delayed until the first week of August after its auditor requested more time to assess the new processes and controls introduced since the last audit.

 

Purplebricks delays publication of 2021 results to August

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8 Comments

  1. IheartRE

    I’d wager that Adam Smith is selling the idea that Paul Pindar is the problem and if he goes, he hopes the share price will rise so he can sell at a profit.

     

    Because the business as a whole is based on a terrible culture brought about by the Brucies who cashed out while they still could make a buck, the place is doomed, but as Warren Buffet would say, it looks like there are still a few puffs left in the cigar butt.

     

    The Brucies jumped ship so long ago now, yet people still think the ship isn’t sinking. Very clever job boys, leaving plenty on the plate so as to arouse less suspicion from the muppets.

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  2. Robert_May

    The king is in the altogether, there never was a new robe, the cloth and thread isn’t the finest the world has ever seen.

     

    For the same reasons that existed in 2013- [before Purplebrick existed} a true, duty of care and skill service industry WILL NOT be disrupted  by cheap fees, manipulated statistics, false claims or misleading advertising

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  3. janbyerss

    fgs THIS site is becoming the PB newsletter

    Who cares !

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  4. Diogenes

    Their lettings division is just too slow. By the time a valuation has been arranged, a decent local agent will have let the property. Their reputation for property management is dreadful as demonstrated by their twitter account. If they can’t deal with the basics of registering deposits, how will they cope with the raft of new legislation heading our way?

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    1. DefinitelyNotMW

      They *still* haven’t updated their Landlord’s Legal Section which contains information on legislation that was replaced in 2020!!!  Lucky for them Empty Seat, T Bomb and Property Mark are permanently awol.

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  5. NHGURU

    The only positive thing about this business is-as I’m sure my fellow trad business will agree with multiple office sites -PB  wont be clobbered with the huge LHP increases we are having to sign up to.

     

    One small benefit(although by default is it the LPE who pay for increase LHP at home?)

     

    With no lettings/NH to speak off this company is on the wire.

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  6. NHGURU

    The only positive  thing about the business is-as I’m sure my fellow Tradition businesses will agree with multiple office locations-PB wont be clobbered by huge LHP increases we are having to sign up to.

     

    One small benefit-(although do the LPE get an increased allowance or do they pay for the increase at home)

     

    No letting.No Nh. Not confident this will last unless someone comes in and buys it and gets someone skilled in EA to run it as opposed to an HR Director(couldn’t make that up really after the AP fiasco).

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  7. A W

    *gets popcorn*

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