Hybrid estate agents can take significant market share within the next five years, the boss of Purplebricks has said.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Vic Darvey said: “We believe the hybrid market place can get to 20%-30% [market share] in the next five years and they [Springer] believe in that.”
German-based global publisher Axel Springer is the largest shareholder in Purplebricks.
Last week, Neil Woodford’s fund reduced its holding to less then 5%, with its shares being taken up by supervisory company Link Fund Solutions as the entire Woodford business winds down.
Darvey also told the Telegraph – which described Purplebricks as “the struggling estate agent” – as “absolutely” not for sale.
As a public company, Purplebricks is owned by its shareholders and as such, is not for sale. However, it could be taken private if a similar scenario emerged to that by which US equity firm Silver Lake came forward to buy Zoopla and convinced shareholders of the attractiveness of the idea.
However, Darvey told the Telegraph that Purplebricks wants to retain its stock market listing.
If a shareholder increases its stake to 30% or above, it is required to launch a mandatory takeover bid for the entire company – ie, buy the remaining shares – within 30 days of that threshold being crossed. Axel Springer, Europe’s biggest publisher, currently has a 27% stake in Purplebricks.
The very short report – five paragraphs – in yesterday’s Telegraph also said that Darvey defended the company’s fixed-fee pricing model. Earlier, Darvey had suggested that this would be reviewed, with other online firms – for example Yopa – offering no sale, no fee as an option.
However, insiders suggest that a no sale, no fee model is a difficult departure for online agents needing to make future projections for fund-raising purposes, because while some of that income might materialise, much of it might not.