Countrywide shares shoot up while stakes are raised – and lowered – at Purplebricks

Countrywide shares shot up over 20% yesterday amid unusually high volumes of trading.

Even though the rise fell back to some 17%, it was the first uplift after days of consecutive battering.

They finished at 3.8p as speculation mounted as to whether there could be interested buyers in what, despite an unspecified number of recent closures, is still believed to be the UK’s largest estate agency by branches.

Various names of potentially interested purchasers with cash and ambition at their disposal have been mooted amid suggestions that the fates of Purplebricks and Countrywide could be linked.

Meanwhile at Purplebricks – which lays claim to being the UK’s largest estate agency by listings – shares dipped despite what looks like an emerging takeover battle.

Embattled fund manager Neil Woodford reduced his stake for a second time, from 23.8% down to 21.5%, while two stakeholders bought more shares in Purplebricks.

First, as EYE reported in yesterday’s Newsflash, Toscafund doubled its stake to 10.11% from 5.64%. The amount suggests it may have acquired its new shares from Woodford.

Shortly afterwards, Merian Global Investors (UK)  – formerly Old Mutual – informed the London Stock Exchange that it had upped its stake from 13.22% to 14.36%.

Meanwhile, there was no move from German publisher Axel Springer, now the largest shareholder with a 26.6% holding – ahead of previous largest shareholder Woodford, who has now this week sold down his stake from 28.88% to 21.51%.

When a stakeholder has control of 30% or more of a company, it is a trigger for a statutory takeover bid.

This is what has happened at eProp, parent company of the Guild, Fine & Country and easyProperty, where Toscafund is offering other shareholders 50p a share.

However, while Toscafund shows signs of pursuing Purplebricks, it has said that an option for easyProperty is to close it down.

Yesterday, Purplebricks’ shares finished some 2% down, at about 107p.

Meanwhile at Foxtons – which has also been troubled by poorly performing shares – Swiss investment bank UBS has increased its stake.

A statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday shows that UBS has increased its stake from 8.37%  to 10.59% overall.


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  1. Hillofwad71

    Too easy to take SP movements at face value .
    They never usually  run in a straight line.
    However CWD has effectively been the exception  to the rule where its been effectively plunging  south for 4 years Suspect the high volume is some shorts closing and punters taking their cue from events at Purplebricks that the whole sector is up for grabs .
    Probably  turning back south again today !
      Exciting times at Bricks It does look as if Axel will have to pay a premium price to gain control .
    This morning OTMP announced
    “The Company’s UK property stock is now over 83% of Zoopla’s and approximately 65% of Rightmove’s.”  
    Springett not wishing to be left out of the ruck raising the virtual sales sign !  

    1. cyberduck46

      >“The Company’s UK property stock is now over 83% of Zoopla’s and approximately 65% of Rightmove’s.”  


      65% of the listings of Rightmove but OTM’s record traffic figure less than 20% of Rightmove’s average in 2018. No progress on branch numbers reported by OTM after reporting every 500 branch increase between Nov 2018 and Feb 2019.


      Results next week – that will be interesting.




      1. Hillofwad71

        Yes it does sound as if Springett is putting in some advanced PR  to what is likely to be disappointing figures.
        Deseperate not to be left out of the party .Should imagine keen to take an early bath,cash in his chips and move on

  2. Mythoughts

    I agree, not sure one days trading actually forms any type of trend. The volume trading was Wednesday when nearly 45m shares were traded. Most of the transactions are “off-book’ so hard to see exactly who is buying or selling. The largest transactions yesterday were actually “Selling”. with nearly £230k of shares sold in only 4 transactions.

    Whichever time frame is looked at, the reality CWD SP. have as said above, only headed south with intermittent periods of increase.

    Interesting Zoopla have the market lead in UK Property Stock…. perhaps its something in the colour ‘Purple’ ? 🙂





  3. NotAdoctor32

    Are we going to have an article on every movement in share price every day or wait for something significant to happen?

    Newsflash!! – Share prices go up and down.

    Rinse and repeat.

    1. Property Pundit

      C’mon, it’s more interesting than Coronation Street at least.

  4. cyberduck46

    >Are we going to have an article on every movement in share price every day



    1. NotAdoctor32

      As long as I know 😀

  5. Mark Walker 2

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ You won’t BELIEVE who expresses their opinion on it in share chat sites every single day.

    1. Woodentop

      Oh we do and he takes a bashing there too.

  6. Hillofwad71

    Mark Exciting times.
    Tosca clearly keen to make their presence felt in the sector .They have been stalking  LSH and Hamptons for sometime .
    Should imagine by the end of the summert the listed corporate estate agency  world might be in an entirely different place

  7. GPL




    ”Dearly Departed Chas & Very Much Alive Dave” rumoured to be on the verge of buying out OTM


    ……after they save up their OTM Advert Royalties?!


    An industry bystander questions whether Dave can last long enough for the Royalties to top the £1 mark?


    Meanwhile ……Ian Springett is polishing his Smile, combing the Hair Gel, popping on his “Buy Me Quick” Suit …in expectation of that Big Huge Enormous ……offer for OTM.


    Finally …….Oxygen rumoured to be popular with Humans & Rightmove wondering how they can charge their existing subscribers for breathing!


    More ……later



  8. PeeBee

    ANOTHER sell-off of PB shares this afternoon by Woodford – that’s around 1/3 of their holding dumped in a week.

    Whether profit or not – having to rob Peter to pay Paul makes Peter look like the unwanted party.


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