Axel Springer and Purplebricks lead global ‘one horse race’ with insurmountable lead

Media giant Axel Springer, which owns several property portals, has made ‘hybrid agents’ one of its top priorities.

The business last year made a £125m investment in Purplebricks, and has also joined up with Purplebricks to invest in the acquisition of German online estate agent Homeday.

Analyst Mike DelPrete says this is notable, because: “Axel Springer owns several top portals whose customers are the same real estate agents that Purplebricks is trying to disrupt.

“Furthermore Axel Springer is the only major international entity that has targeted online hybrid agents as a future growth priority.

“In its latest presentation to investors, hybrid agents are included as a top priority for the core classifieds business.”

DelPrete says: “Continuing to serve your customers while entering into direct competition with them is a delicate balancing act.”

However, he described the combination of Axel Springer and Purplebricks as “powerful” – and a hard one to beat.

He says: “Axel Springer and Purplebricks are quickly building a potentially insurmountable lead in the online hybrid space globally. There is no runner-up in the sector: it’s a one horse race.

“Purplebricks has proven the online hybrid model works in the UK and is aggressively launching in other markets.”

What, asks DelPrete, is stopping other media giants, including News Corp, from entering the space: “It’s either capital, ambition, or fear of upsetting their agent customers.”

DelPrete concludes there is undeniable momentum, with portals moving closer to the transaction: “Axel Springer’s bet on online hybrid agents, in direct competition with its real estate agent customers, is the latest example of this evolving strategy.”

Axel Springer last March paid £125m for an 11.5% stake in Purplebricks, paying £3.60 a share.

It later upped its stake to 12.5%, buying 3m more shares at £3.07 each in July.

Yesterday, the shares were worth a lot less than Axel Springer paid, finishing the day at about 163p.

In October, it was announced that Axel Springer and Purplebricks were setting up a joint holding company, NewCo, to acquire a 22% stake in Homeday, with the ability to acquire the remaining shares through further rounds of investment.

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9 Comments

  1. JustPlainSavage04

    Michael: “Share price really isn’t doing well” Kenny: OK let’s tell everyone some good news and hope for the best” It’s like when you see celebrities doing something in the papers before their new film comes out. They are very good at covering up there multi million pound loses every year.    

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  2. Ostrich17

    What odds on Axel Springer buying OTM in the next 18 months?

    Or will they choose to bail out PB instead ?

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  3. htsnom79

    This horse is named MTGG

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  4. GeorgeOrwell

    DelPrete comments re Online Property Market – “Purplebricks powerful and hard to beat”.

    Ask the following Purplebricks Customers Mike, they posted their views on Trustpilot, somewhat different opinion from yours, and they are actually customers who have used Purplebricks.

    The moral here Mike, 2 Sides to every story.
    Experience has taught us to stick with a local agent.
    Purple Bricks reported this review to Trustpilot in 2016 citing that we could not prove we were customers (I think) and therefore getting it removed. We were – so I am copying this review – as they implemented a partial refund on the fees, they know it to be a true review.From 2016.We went up with Purple Bricks after a dire experience with an estate agent who could literally do nothing right. Why pay all that money when you can pay less than a thousand to do the job? That was our thinking and we went up with (and still are with) Purple Bricks. It started well, we tried our house (a bit of a one off) at a higher priced but dropped it a few weeks later. 116 days later we have had 2 people book to view – one who liked the house but not the area (so didn’t check out area before wasting our time) and the other who booked so late at night that we missed the email and were not in for the viewing. That highlights the first problem – the system automatically confirms the appointment without a response from you, so if you miss that email – you let down the person who wants to view. That should change. Other than that we do not hear from our agent anymore, so he is obviously not interested. We get reports advising us to drop the price all the time though. Halfway through our time with Purplebricks we went up with a local agents who promised to restore our faith in estate agents. They have. We have had a steady stream of people through our door and four offers (whilst still getting our automated ‘drop the price’ message). My advice – unless you are selling a regular house that will sell itself without much help, do NOT use Purplebricks. We feel that once its advertised with them, they don’t do anything else for you. Obviously until you pay there is no receipt (Purplebricks are obviously in doubt I am a real customer). Our agent in Andrew Butler, and we are Mr & Mrs Tune.
     
    WasWe received very poor service from…
    We received very poor service from Purple Bricks, they made no viewings and when we chose to end the contract because of the agent’s behaviour they charged us full rate as if they had made viewings. I made a complaint to customer services who told me the area manager would contact me but I heard nothing back. They only wanted to contact us by email but unfortunately as I explained on the telephone the email address originally given was not in use anymore. I would not recommend to use them and they have removed my previous review again without trying to resolve any issues.

    Waste of off money…
    Waste off money, agents just take your money & don’t give a Dam about trying to sell your house… zero one to one service, lack of returning calls or emails When you try to complain to head office your agent finally returns your calls in a very aggressive manner, head office need to own the complaint not put it back to the agent to sort out.. & NOT put the customer in a very awkward position… they

    Misleading valuation
    Do not use purple bricks for valuations as they wil quote you the lowest price for your property as each representative need to sell certain number of houses each month before they can take on new properties. I had several valuations from local estate agents and purple bricks was the lowest. What was insulting is the agent was comparing my property to another smaller house he sold and in a horrible part of town which shows he does not have thorough knowledge of my area. I told him the figure I had in mind and he dismissed it straight away. My advice is to go to a high street agent as they will have vast knowledge of the property price in your area. I would rather pay a bit more on commission fees then to sell my property less then what it’s worth. Purple bricks will undervalue your property as they have a quota to sell every month. put FALSE bookings on your account & then cancel last minute… or false info on viewings.. I sold my house 7 months ago & am still waiting for a return phone call & my Key back to give to the new owners So many hidden costs I CANNOT ADIVISE YOU ANYMORE THANDO NOT USE THIS GREEDY COMPANY that only focus on taking your money & NOT selling your house.. betting going with local or NO sale No fee…

    These reviews were posted within the past few days, and I have screengrab’s of them from Trustpilot, just in case Purplebricks try to make them disappear.

     

     

     

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  5. GeorgeOrwell

    Oh, and Mike, this Purplebricks customer welcomed in their New Year with their January 1st Trustpilot comment of –

     
    Very expensive lesson learned!!!
    The only thing I got for my money off purplebricks was stress, lies, tears, disappointment and rude argumentative customer service. My property was on the market for over 12 months and got only 4 viewings. When I asked if they offer recomendations following unsuccessful viewings to point people our way, I was literally laughed at by our agent. During our time with purplebricks we had multiple agents due to them not staying with the company and every time we had someone new we was told our property was not selling due to the previous agent doing everything badly on the advert. So we would have to start again with whole advert being re-done, new photos and all. We also had our advert changed regularly without our knowledge and not for the better.We did finally get an offer with purplebricks which came through the app and asked us to either accept, decline or negotiate. We chose to accept the offer. We then spoke to the agent the following morning and she was very upbeat about it and said we now need to find somewhere ourselves and wait for our buyer to input her solicitors details. We found a house and got an offer accepted within a week it was a further 2 weeks of no contact from our buyer before we found out that they had not been varified as a genuine buyer, yet purplebricks system automatically removed our house off the market once the offer was accepted regardless. When we raised our dissatisfaction with everything following this we was greeted by a very rude and argumentative person on the phone and basically to it was all our fault for accepting the offer on the app. Since this we have sold our house within 2 months with another agent, and they was worth every penny!
     

     

     

     

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  6. GeorgeOrwell

    Finally Mike, this one from 31st December 2018, Ms Smith ending her year with her summary of Purplebricks –

     

    Misleading Adverts, RUDE staff, very unhelpful
    REPLY TO PURPLEBRICKS RESPONSE:-Thank you for your reply to my below review. I am very surprised you do not have my email address on record particularly after the amount of emails that were exchanged during the complaints process. I have already discussed this matter as much as possible with you. You have admitted your service was “below your usual standard” (although judging by horror stories I have subsequently been hearing and the extremely rude manager that phoned me I don’t feel you have any standards). As I did not receive a full refund for the appalling service I received I feel I am entitled to share my opinion and as such I do not want this review to be removed like you do with many other peoples negative reviews. Please confirm the best way to contact you with our house address and initial email address used to register to prove that we were unfortunately a Purple Bricks customerORIGINAL REVIEWWell what a complete waste of money using this firm was.  The adverts on the TV state “Purple Bricks do everything for you”, the reviews on here are fantastic and the low fee makes it extremely appealing. Initially before paying our fee they were extremely helpful and friendly.  Then we paid them £1149 (£849 fee plus £300 for viewings) and this was when we felt like we had been conned. In return for our money we received a poorly prepared advert (clearly copy and pasted e.g. they put in details of windows in rooms that did not exist!) and a total of 4 telephone calls totalling under 15 minutes (one of which was a returning my call). These 4 telephone calls demonstrated how Purple Bricks tell you incorrect advice, try to get more money out of you by buying “premium rightmove listings” and just how unhelpful and useless they really are. I would also like to add that other than returning one telephone call we did not receive a single reply to any messages we sent. We even had to telephone the 24 hour helpline that were unable to help and told us to phone a different number after 9am.During the 113 days our property was on the market we did not receive 1 single viewing. This is a great cause for concern when identical neighbouring properties received numerous viewings and even selling for a higher price than ours was on the market for.We then decided that it was time to move to a real high street estate agent and was amazed at the difference in service. We informed Purple Bricks that we were going and requested they removed our property from the market with immediate effect. They couldn’t even do this for us – like everything else with them you have to do it yourself.We started up a complaints procedure as we felt mislead into using them in the first place and felt like they do not provided anything in return for our money. We then had a territory manager, Jeremy Jones, telephone us. We are absolutely shocked and disgusted by his attitude. His comments included “your house did not receive any viewings as it is unattractive!!”. He also tried to bully us in withdrawing our complaint. His job was to try and resolve our complaint but in actual fact he made the situation a whole lot worse. We really don’t understand how they are allowed to advertise that they “are not just an online estate agent” and “Purple Bricks do everything for you”. This is just utter rubbish a bit like the great ratings on here! We have been informed that the good reviews get published but the negative reviews don’t as Purple Bricks argue that “it is a negative review against the local agent”. If this is the case then it just demonstrates yet again how misleading this company is. We would recommend anyone who is considering using this firm to research other review sites to get a clearer picture on what they are like.

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    Reply from Purplebricks UK
    2 days ago

    Thank you for taking the time to leave your review Miss Smith.I understand that you have been in contact with Customer Experience Manager, Emma and she has taken the time to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the concerns you have raised. We would never wish for a customer to feel anything other than completely happy with their experience so it is disappointing that this is not how you have felt throughout your journey with us. I appreciate that a reduction to your fees has been offered and accepted by you. Once again please accept our apologies for the way you have felt.Kind regards

    Customer Support

     

     

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  7. Woodentop

    Purple Bricks has been a success in gaining growth in instructions based purely on TV advertising and in a recovering market from the recession. It has never made a profit and only survives from crowd funding, but still runs at a loss. Its business model is purely based on not offering no sale = no fee and to undercut its main competitors … the High Street. Since it cannot make a profit in the good times the chances of it ever surviving a property boom (less instructions/income) or a recession (less instructions/income) it has probably peaked after 7 years and the only way is now down ….. and out. Axel Spinger has money to burn, as most crowdfunders have and probably enjoy watching the disruption they provide, which as the consumer is finding out, is not a good service. When they go the wall, which is inevitable there will be little in the way of tears.

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  8. WiltsAgent

    This ‘Analyst’ continually pumps out positive guff on Purplebricks, much like Trustpilot who are paid to manage their reviews. Can only assume Mr DelPrete has a similar arrangement.

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  9. qubes1832

    ‘How to turn £125 million investment into £56 million’ – Good job Springer(!)

    Was always a ticking time bomb – the public can’t and won’t be conned by PB for much longer…

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