OnTheMarket has today confirmed that it is launching as a publicly listed company.
However, the firm has given no timing and City analyst William Packer, of BNP Paribas Exane, said there were “lots of unanswered questions”, including the level of current membership and traffic to the site, and that there had been “limited disclosure of information”.
Packer said: “Overall we see the news as broadly neutral for the incumbents.
“At ZPG, the portal is now a much smaller part of the wider business following recent mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, although increased OTM marketing spend could bring inflationary marketing pressure, ZPG could win back agent customers following the planned dropping of the One Other Portal rule.
“At Rightmove, again inflationary marketing pressure could drag (although historically there has been little impact from peer spend) but on the other hand it could benefit if Zoopla and OTM renew hostilities.”
The announcement, at 7am today, said: “OnTheMarket Limited (to be re-registered as OnTheMarket plc), the agent-backed company which operates the OnTheMarket.com property portal, is pleased to announce its intention to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.
“As previously announced on 4 August 2017, OnTheMarket plc will seek to offer a minority stake to investors as part of the IPO with OnTheMarket’s entire issued and to be issued share capital being admitted to trading on AIM. The objective is to raise approximately £50 million of new equity capital which will be used to fund the growth of OnTheMarket, already the third biggest UK residential property portal provider in terms of traffic.
“The Company has engaged Zeus Capital as Financial Adviser and Broker to manage a proposed Placing and IPO.
“A substantial portion of the funds raised will be committed to support broad marketing campaigns through television, digital, local radio and poster and press advertising, in addition to increased PR and social media activity.
“Funds will also be committed to the expansion of the Group’s sales and customer relationship management organisation and its technology development capacity. This will underpin the strategy to not only attract more estate agents and other property advertisers to use the portal but also to grow the levels of traffic and engagement with property-seekers.
“A key part of the Group’s growth strategy involves implementing appropriate incentives for agents to make a long term commitment to list their properties on the portal and the rapid building of its agency branch base. This will be achieved in part through offering equity participation following Admission to selected new agents alongside long term listing agreements, with arrangements in place to restrict agents from the short term sale of any such shares and to align their interests as shareholders with the success of the Group.
“As recently announced, OnTheMarket has signed long term listing agreements with leading estate agencies and property services providers, Arun Estates, Chancellors Group and Hunters Property Group plc. The agreements are conditional upon, and will take effect from, an IPO taking place. In aggregate, the branch networks of Arun Estates, Chancellors Group and Hunters Property Group plc amount to over 350 branches.
“The issuance of new shares to recruit key new advertisers is expected to result in both direct and indirect revenue growth.
“Ian Springett, Chief Executive of Agents’ Mutual, said: “We have made good progress against our plans first announced earlier this year.
“Our demutualisation received overwhelming support from members, and more recently we have signed new long term listing agreements with a number of leading estate agencies and property services providers. We are now well placed to list and raise new funds to challenge the two leading incumbent portals.
“We are excited about this new chapter in OnTheMarket’s development, which will strengthen our market position, and benefit our agents, investors and consumers using our services.”