NEWSFLASH: Agents’ Mutual confirms £50m stock market flotation

Agents’ Mutual, the agent-owned company which owns the OnTheMarket property portal, this morning formally announced its intention to form a new parent company, OnTheMarket plc, to list on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

The ‘one other portal’ rule will be dropped.

It will seek to offer a minority stake to investors, raising around £50m of new equity capital, which will be used to fund growth and to support a heavyweight TV, digital and print media campaign. Funds will also be committed to expanding OnTheMarket’s sales and account management organisation and development of its technology.

There will also be a new estate agents’ recruitment strategy.

The company has engaged Zeus Capital as adviser and broker. The  board is seeking a valuation for the company of between £200m and £250m.

Agents’ Mutual members currently number some 2,700 estate and letting agency firms, and this morning said that around 5,700 agent branches list with OnTheMarket.

Currently the members have one membership interest per firm but, following the reorganisation into OnTheMarket these firms will receive ordinary shares reflecting, amongst other factors, the aggregate amount of fees they have paid in order to list on the OnTheMarket.com portal since its launch in January 2015.

In order for the IPO to proceed, members must first vote in favour of converting their existing membership interests in Agents’ Mutual, a company limited by guarantee, into ordinary shares in a new company, OnTheMarket plc.

This vote is expected to be held on September 6  at a ‘Members Court Meeting’. There will be a similar arrangement for Agents’ Mutual loan notes to be exchanged for OnTheMarket plc Loan Notes which will be convertible into shares on IPO. Together, many Agents’ Mutual Members provided funding totalling £11m for the venture by way of loan note subscriptions.

To support the plans, members will need to commit to a new five-year listing agreement with the Company. The new agreements will supersede the existing agreements at the point of IPO.

With the increased funds supporting marketing and the expected step-change in growth following the IPO, the company’s new listing agreements will no longer include the ‘one other portal’ (OOP) rule which is a term of all existing listing agreements.

Agents’ Mutual said this morning: “The rule was an essential element of the company’s entry into a property portals market dominated by two existing large players but has limited its appeal to some agents. The board believes its release at IPO will enable OnTheMarket to attract substantially more agents to list with it.”

Agents’ Mutual CEO Ian Springett said: “This is the beginning of a very exciting new chapter in our development.

“With the support of thousands of estate and lettings agents, we have rapidly established OnTheMarket.com as the third biggest player in the UK residential property portals market. For consumers and agents alike, we are committed to creating a genuine agent-controlled alternative challenger business and brand to the two leading incumbent portals.

“We believe that by raising capital from new investors we will substantially strengthen our market position. Agents provide the main property listings content and the main revenue sources for property portals.

“Our members’ ownership of shares in the newly listed company will enable them to remain enfranchised, aligned and fully invested in OnTheMarket’s future success.”

While the ‘one other portal’ rule will be dropped, it has not yet been clarified whether the ban on online/hybrid agents will be continued.

However, Russell Quirk of eMoov told EYE: “I’m all ready to list eMoov’s inventory on OnTheMarket!

“If they’re dropping OOP, I presume they are no longer ‘banning’ value-for-money hybrid agents.

“An agent is an agent is an agent. Where do I sign?”

A spokesperson for Zoopla said: “Agents’ Mutual was founded on the principle of being 100% agent-owned, with equal shares for all members and run for lower marketing fees and not for profit.

“All that now seems to be out the window and the new plan to demutualise and float is a clear admission of failure to achieve any of its original objectives and is unlikely to be viewed as positive by many of its members who will no doubt feel betrayed by the broken promises including seeing the majority of shares now go to its board members.

“We continue to win back disillusioned agents from Agents’ Mutual as we remain focused on providing the best value and most effective marketing, software, website and data solutions for all UK agents.

“We welcome, of course, the plan for Agents’ Mutual to drop its anti-competitive ‘one other portal’ rule which has prevented agents from having a say in their own marketing decisions and has hurt consumer choice and exposure.”

Agents’ Mutual also this morning unveiled its new-look website: https://www.agentsmutual.co.uk/

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96 Comments

  1. The Outsider

    This is a sure fire way for agents to lose more money.    All you have to do is look at the “growth” over the past 18 months to realise that the existing management team are not able to deliver.

     

    Would you trust them with another  £50m of your money?

     

    What is to stop a member firm from not agreeing with these plans and having to recommit for a further 5 years, having their existing shares compulsory purchased off them as part of the IPO agreement, and then signing back up with only a 12 month commitment?

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    1. Bless You

      this is why brexit happened…the London agents have shafted its members and the rest of the country will be left with nothing. Forgive them for they do know what they do….and that’s worse.

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  2. danny

    Ive said all along Springett is a snake oil salesman .For those of you who who think this is a new direction , you only need to read two things from the recent court case.

    1) Ian Springett was asked why he on a “profit share” in a mutual company

    2) Notes from the meeting in 2014 with Country , Connells et all
    105BInclude a ‘conversion’ clause in the event the Company moved to ‘limited by shares’
    Proposition two members: close membership, IPO (at say £500M). Issue equal shares to current membership and authorise further issue for capital raising and to incentivise key agents. Each current member holding would have paper value of £100k after dilution of their stake to 60%. Some of the shares used to raise capital, others to meet conversion from Loan Notes, others to incentivise further key firms (ZPG partners). Further agents joining OTM are just customers. o 107BAll members remain OTM + 1 and this gets us past tipping point 1 towards tipping point 2 where we are seen as strong enough for agents to begin withdrawing from Rightmove. o 108BEndgame – 15,000 branches at an avg monthly fee of say £1000 with no real need to list anywhere else. £118M income before any other revenue sources. o 109BUnder any scenario, the members need to be protected and receive the elements of the proposition they bought into = sustainably reasonable and fixed listing fees, no internet-only. • 10BAP queried the desire of the ZPG partners to join. IS said conversations had taken place, with one interested in joining simply to support the principles of what we are currently doing and another looking for a financial incentive. None seem locked to ZPG. • 1BDL pushed dropping one other portal and AP supported, saying the market should decide and the best portal would win – they would provide us with extra stock to put us in the game. IS said there is no magic – RM is now the only portal with near 100% stock and matching income so is winning. Would not have entered the market on any other basis than agents backing and directing their stock via OTM + 1 rule. Still plenty of mileage in that and consistent with the ‘most interesting scenario’. • 12BIS asked what success resulted from them supporting OTM looked like for them. DL said it would be really strong portals competing, with them potentially benefitting from an investment in one or more

    This is the year of launch …… this was the plan all along. Its a wealth creation scheme for Sprigett and the founders and $£1000 a month is more than most of us now pay RIghtmove and Zoopla combined

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  3. ARC

    If you can’t beat em join em.

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  4. smile please

    A complete joke.

    Furious this morning. Flys in the face of everything it was suppose to be.

    Sprignett has shown he is untrustworthy and must leave.

    We have had no advertising for a year and now we know why, money funnelled in to exploring this idea.

    We now need to pay for 3 portals.

    Where can I sign up to take them to court for misrepresentation.

     

     

     

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  5. Blue

    Anyone who tells you they are doing it for your benefit..  they’re doing it for their own benefit.

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    1. Robert May

      ….for mutual benefit!

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  6. docklander52

    Can I exchange my Agents Mutual Loan note for Actual Money please Mr Springett?

    I am actually looking forward to PeeBees comments on this one…..

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    1. PeeBee

      Happy to oblige as always, ‘docklander52. – comment as requested:

      I’m sure Mr Springett will give your request the due consideration it deserves – taking into account of course your past and present actions and levels of support for Agents Mutual.  However the final decision will obviously depend upon the Contract you signed…

      …oh – hang on – you didn’t see the need to honour that. did you?

      I’m sure however that one party to the Agreement will…

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      1. docklander52

        Sorry PeeBee knowing you are so literal, I should have been clearer; please substitute “this topic” for “this one” as I was hoping for some incite on Agents(not-so)Mutual decision/future.

        PS – different paperwork for Loan Notes 🙂 AND I stuck to my side of the deal.

        I just want my money out before AM/OTM/??? is nothing but a pile of smoking ashes.

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        1. PeeBee

          docklander52

          In answer to your amended question I will comment as following

          I cannot speak for all bona fide ‘full’ (‘Gold’ and ‘Silver’ level) Members of Agents Mutual – so these are my own thoughts.

          I would be surprised if some 2700 or so company Principals, Partnerships or Co-Directors are clapping their hands together like demented Duracell bunnies this morning at the announcement which, for a great many would have been the first they knew about it.

          For others that became aware of the news pretty much as it was breaking last night, then in my opinion they will no doubt be wondering why they did not receive any communication whatsoever in respect of the proposal from the Mutual organisation they are Members of prior to it having been splashed all over the media – and more than a smidgen miffed that they didn’t.

          I’m also of the opinion that the CEO of a certain NSPR portal facilitator is enjoying a brief respite from being probably the most talked about subject in the property industry at this moment.

          Hope this goes some way to fill at least some of the commentary void you are experiencing!

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          1. harry hood

            Do you feel betrayed and will you be changing your position as a result of this?

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            1. PeeBee

              Nothing that happens in the world surprises me.  In the business world you expect more change than anywhere else – and that change is predominantly the catalyst for in the ‘real’ world, is it not?

              The Board of Agents Mutual have decided upon a potential course of action that they must ‘sell’ to their 2700 or so ‘voting Members’ as being in the best interests of the organisation.

              Without majority approval nothing will happen – and if that were to be the outcome, then The Board may then need to reassess both its’ own position and/or knuckle down and carry out the Members’ elected decision to continue as a Mutual and to finish what has been started.

              Like many, I await our forthcoming meetings with a certain hesitant interest – and I will not speculate before I have been shown the full picture that is presented to us.

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  7. AgentV

    Last night when I read this I thought the money could be put to good use to really back Collective Adaptive Intelligent Marketing for independent agents, helping them to gain substantially more business.

    However I know the proposal goes against many of the ideals that it was set up for in the first place…and will disappoint a lot of existing full members.

    Now that it is pretty obvious the One Other Portal rule is going to be dropped, surely it would be better to have a rapid growth phase to attract many new members and increase the number of properties available.

    Ultimately that might negate the need for this proposal, as revenues would increase substantially…..creating profit rather than loss and allowing more to be used on marketing. Also, if the members still then wanted to float at some stage, the project would be able to raise far more capital than it could at the present time.

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    1. Bless You

      more like

      Collective

      Unknown

      Marketing.

       

      that’ a great abbreviation for a new portal…

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  8. GeoW10

    A £50m war chest to take on the “big 2”. So the gloves are off plus it’s questionable if this is enough without a usp element to attract and build site traffic and revenues.

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    1. smile please

      No USP.

      No reason to now be on it.

      It obviously just a revenue raiser. I would rather it just died off now.

      I feel completely conned.

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    2. AgentV

      There are some really good distinct new USP’s OnTheMarket could adopt to help their members gain more business. Now is the time to open up to ideas from the industry.

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  9. HJ12

    For all that are furious – use your vote!!!

    Had it not been for the court case I believe we would be in a very different situation – seems the only way to move the business forward!

    Interested to see how many shares I’ll get and the outline of the business proposal before I get get my pants in a twist!

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    1. smile please

      Even if they give you 5k worth of shares it’s false economy.

      You really want another Zoopla or Rightmove?

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      1. HJ12

        Depends how many shares and ultimately what % of the biz is owned by us – I do see the potential if additional investment – increased market/staff money for development. The most important increasing market share quickly! More stock more traffic more leads!

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      2. Peter

        “You really want another Zoopla or Rightmove?”

        No, you will get the same Zoopla, or maybe Rightmove. Alex C must be like a dog in heat at the moment, having a good ol sniff at Agents Mutual!

         

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    2. Digital Expert

      Ian Springett told Countrywide & Connells & LSL this plan in early 2015. It was always their plan. Always. It came out in court.

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  10. JAM01

    There is no need for a third main-stream portal. There is no USP. The same properties are already on RM and Z.

    The original aim was to take power away from those two, to defeat at least one of them, keep agent portal fees low…..

    A stunning failure and posting losses of £4M. And you have to commit to a further 5 years?

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  11. davidandrew52

    I have one question, is it true that Springett has been eating £450k /a so far?

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  12. GilesH

    We’ve all been conned. Utter waste of time. There is no cause / purpose now they are now just another RM/Z and a bad one at that. I’ll be focusing on Z & RM and winning in my area…OTM are desperate and how do you sell the story of the back of no growth/healthy financials…waste of time and Springett is a wolf in sheeps clothing. Beware you lot and any investors that might be foolish enough…

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  13. Digital Expert

    I really take no pleasure in saying I told you so, but….

     

    Any OTM agent support for a stock market float rather sounds a lot like turkeys voting for a major expansion into the Bernard Matthews factory.

     

    Agents Mutual original and sole aim:

    £1000 per month ARPA

    New 5 Year contracts

    Big profit for Springett

    No return for Agents

    Please read that £1000 per month membership again.

     

    Folks, you’ve been had. Good & proper.

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    1. AgentV

      My understanding is that it is one member one vote. So surely this can’t be passed without the majority of membership wishing it to happen?

       

      And what if the majority of membership now wanted to set a different course from this. What if they wanted new ideas and many other changes?

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      1. Digital Expert

        Precisely. There has to be 90% member agreement to float.

        I can only imagine a massive defeat on this front.

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      2. smile please

        V

        We have seen time and again agents are stupid and greedy. My expectations are they will vote to float after some outrageous claims.

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  14. Ajax

    The media / financial / regulatory world will be very interested to know how Sky News got this story last night ahead of the statement to the London Stock Exchange at 7am this morning.

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    1. Digital Expert

      That’s your concern? PIE had the story last night, too.

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      1. Ajax

        EYE was following up the Sky News story.

        Someone managed to get this information and told Sky.

        This leak should be investigated.

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        1. PeeBee

          Not to mention the apparent new-found future prediction powers of the Pub Landlord down the road…

          …considering that the last time he tried to call the future of the portal lansdcape he got it SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO woefully, pitifully and painfully embarrassingly

          W

          R

          O

          N

          G

          with his mate #Rocky’s offering.  It’s almost like he’s been bitten by a radioactive mole and has developed some superpower.

          We could call him #TattletaleMan.

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          1. AgencyInsider

            Absolutely no doubt there was a significant leak of this news to Sky and, I would warrant, others. The content and timing of the opinion piece yesterday afternoon from the gob on a stick could not just be coincidence.

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  15. paulnewboy26

    If someone would kindly update me on the past I would be most grateful. Clearly you all have the same view, but I am new to this so don’t understand the previous politics behind the original agreement.It was a very straight forward decision for me to use RM and Z as OTM just did not cut it for me. But if you can clarify the bitter feeling then I would be interested in your thought – private message me of course if easier. Cheers.

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    1. Robert May

      This private message functionality of which you speak, where is that?

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      1. GPL

        paulnewboy26….. in life human beings generally have to do a degree of work for themselves….. unless one is born as a manager of sorts and simply issues statement to others who are viewed as flunkies?

        …….have a read through the history of the forum to gain an understanding of the positive/negatives of this particular topic/debate. It’s kind of like Google, you need to search a little….. we have no Siri function on this forum.

        ……or meet with us under The Old Bell Tower at Midnight, wearing a Red Fandango so we know it’s you.

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  16. Observer

    ‘Theresa May’ has called a General Election……

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  17. BrianP293

    We must all wait to find out how much in value we get for being members if this new PLC. This and social media is our only way to counteract the arrogance of Rightmove and Zoopla.

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    1. AgentV

      ‘and social media’ Exactly……through Collective marketing.

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  18. surrey1

    Russell Quirk seems to be the Nigel Farage of the property world. Of no relevance to anyone or anything, yet endlessly sought for comment.

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  19. ChippyJames

    This is extremely disappointing.  Like others have said there will be no USP and with external shareholders there will be a demand for increases to fees and cutting of costs.

    This was supposed to be about agents fighting off the threats from rightmove and zoopla.  There will be some very happy people at their HQs right now.

     

    Very poor showing by the Directors of Agents Mutual.  I will not continue advertising with OTM once the change-over happens.

     

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  20. B6RKY

    As a non OTM subscriber I think this may be a game changer. How long have people been asking for the One other portal rule to be scrapped? This is the most interesting thing to happen to OTM since its inception. I await developments 😉

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    1. Industry_Pro

      The main purpose of OTM was to challenge the dominance of RM & Zoopla and to try and control the ever rising portal costs through that challenge.

      If income/capital growth seeking city investors become involved then the original aims of OTM will come into direct conflict with those investors and their objectives.

      Who will win?

       

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      1. harry hood

        You don’t think the aim was for personal riches at the expense of agents

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  21. Rivero

    I reserve my smugness on this only for my old adversaries (you know who you are) who repeatedly shouted down my concerns and warnings in a less than respectful manner – shame Paul H isn’t still here.

    PeeBee – are you able to tell us if you’re in support of this change of direction? Will the post-flotation OTM still achieve what you had hoped it would achieve?

     

    This is frankly outrageous and whilst it is clearly not an unlawful moving of goalposts, it should be.

    It really rams home the fact the founding agents and Mr Springett have only one priority…and it certainly doesn’t appear to be controlling portal costs for member agents – not in a positive way at least.

    If you invested presumably you are now in a Catch 22 situation. If you don’t vote this through you can most likely kiss goodbye to your loan note, if you vote for the flotation then you are likely to merely to be delaying the inevitable, costing more people money (gullible investors) and going against the main principle you supported in the first place.

    At least when you get turned over by Rightmove you get a product of some value, OTM member agents who signed up for the right reasons have been turned over on a whole other level here.

     

    and PeeBee I know the inevitable ‘thumbs down’s’ this comment will receive will bring you great satisfaction – as if the validity of readers comments is directly proportionate to such…but even if this comment gets 1000 dislikes, I’m afraid your evangelical support of OTM has at best been naive.

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    1. Paul H

      “Shame Paul H isn’t still here”

      Oh I’m still here….with my popcorn in one hand and my loan notes in the other, wondering which way I should vote. Until then I’ll keep munching on my popcorn!

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      1. Rivero

        Ha! Excellent! Fair play.

        Would you consider trading the loan notes in for some nachos?

        Expensive popcorn…just not sure yet whether you’ve paid for it in terms of pounds and pence…or in terms of principle.

        ‘The Sting’ is a good movie to watch with your popcorn btw.

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    2. PeeBee

      Rivero

      I’m probably going to disappoint you here – on more than one level, no doubt – but you deserve a response.

      Sorry in advance it’s a long one.  You could just go to the bottom, I guess…

      BUT – just in case you want to take the scenic route – In no particular order…

      “…are you able to tell us if you’re in support of this change of direction?”

      I am able to – but I choose not to.

      “Will the post-flotation OTM still achieve what you had hoped it would achieve?”

      Probably – but then you don’t know what I had hoped (or more to the point, ‘expected’) from OTM, so that response doesn’t help you in the slightest.

      “and PeeBee I know the inevitable ‘thumbs down’s’ this comment will receive will bring you great satisfaction…”

      Quite the opposite.  I am particularly disappointed by those that think ‘Dislikes’ are in any way a reflection of their opinion, on the basis that those that strum away on that button like a demented Duracell bunny assumedly have neither the ‘nads nor the nous to string together a comment in opposition to that which they apparently object to.  We are supposed to be adults; reasonably educated and professional in what we do and how we go about it.  I am happy to go nose to nose with anyone on a point of difference – win; lose or draw – it’s just a pity that there is such a frankly childish option available to numpties who think they are making a point with each click.

      “– as if the validity of readers comments is directly proportionate to such…”

      See the above – but also note that it is sometimes clear that certain comments have been bombarded with ‘Dislikes’ for what appears to be no earthly reason.  I am pleased to note that you cannot now ‘Like’ or ‘Dislike’ a comment without being logged in (for what I assume is that precise reason) – maybe adding the facility to see who has given a comment a thumbs up/down will stop the rot completely.

      “…but even if this comment gets 1000 dislikes…”

      If your comment collects any more than the one ‘Dislike’ it already has (which is one too many in my eyes…) it will prove the entire thrust of what I have said beyond doubt**.

      Your comment is your opinion; you are entitled to your opinion – as I have said many times before, our forefathers fought and died for your right to that.

      I do not believe that you have an agenda against AM per se, as you are a long-time poster on many unrelated industry issues, so your post is not a red rag to this particular bull.

      ** just found one of particular ironic interest – allow me to quote you from September 2015:

      “I love that 2 people have ‘disliked’ my comment above. It is a fact that my dashboard has not changed (why would you dislike a comment for stating fact?)…for the 2 that did you realise the button states ‘dislike’ and not ‘click here if you have a low IQ’ right?”

      You got SEVEN ‘Dislikes’ for that comment, to add to the two you made reference to!

      On the back of that single comment I feel that we share a common train of thought, Rivero?

      “…I’m afraid your evangelical support of OTM has at best been naïve.”

      Evangelical?  Try going back three years or so – right to the first articles here on EYE.  Four or more, maybe – IF you can find anything written on the bog door down the other pub. I was AMs biggest PitFA – and remain still to this day in certain respects.

      I have always stated that I am ‘an on-the-fence Gold Member’.  My WELL documented thoughts and ‘robust debates’ with those that now see those thoughts were 100% justified are there.  My core opinion has not changed in most respects and I would challenge you to repeat your statement that I am in any way “naïve” if you properly research past history.

      Let’s just say that I am watching… waiting… observing and listening to every differing side of the issue and will then make my own judgement based upon what is best for my customers, the industry – and, lastly, my own needs and wants.

      Which are basically the only issues that matter – in the order posted above.

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      1. Rivero

        I read every word with interest. Thank you for your measured and intelligent reply. I don’t disagree with you on much of it….but I’m still right and you’re wrong

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        1. Rivero

          That was supposed to be tongue in cheek but doesn’t really translate without an emoji…I can’t believe I’ve become dependent on emojis to articulate myself!

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          1. PeeBee

            Don’t worry – I ‘got’ it without a ‘Smiley’ (see – that’s how ancient and set in my ways I am…)!

            ;o)

            Thanks for the response, by the way.  Like you, I’m happy to debate where it is possible but you can only call the ‘Dislikers’ what you think they are – which is very rarely complimentary!

            Tell me, Rivero (and I apologise if we’ve covered this in past – I honestly can’t remember who I’ve argued what specific toss with over the years the AM/OTM jobbie’s been on our radars!) what have been/currently are your main objections and issues with OTM – and would you ever use the portal IF a+b=c (‘a’ & ‘b’ being your problems with it – maybe even x,y and z…)  and ‘c’ being that those issues were somehow removed as potential obstacles?

            Thanks in advance for what I’m sure will be an informed (and equally measured) response.

            Hmmm… where’s those bl00dy Smileys…

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            1. Rivero

              I always felt it was a poorly constructed business model doomed to failure – for many reasons (too many to go over again). The only reason it got any traction at all was due to emotional decisions made by member agents exasperated by RM’s ruthlessness. There was never any real commercial sense to it. I understand wanting to try to change the status quo…but this was never going to achieve such.

              I didn’t like that agents who were approached before us were offered better loan note terms- not that it would have made any difference.

              I always felt that the ‘principle’ from the founders and Mr Springett was disingenuous and that it would eventually either go bust or become the very thing members didn’t want it to be.

              In my area of operation, placing our properties on OTM rather than RM or Z would have placed us and our clients at a competitive disadvantage.

              I felt that the venture would only make RM stronger by consequence of weakening Z and therefore cost us all.

              The only way we would consider it as a viable option would be if the OOP rule was dropped and we felt the product either offered us better ROI than RM or Z…or if it became so prominent that not being on it would lose us instructions.

              I’m afraid that neither of those are likely and that OTM will be a mere memory in 3 years time.

              Even if the crowd funding is successful they would need 10 times that to stand any chance of competing with RM or Z’s brand awareness…and that was always one of the key flaws in the model.

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      2. GPL

        Hallelujah PeeBee

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  22. Industry_Pro

    From the main text of the article;

    “The  board is seeking a valuation for the company of between £200m and £250m” after having raised £50m from new minority investors.

    This suggests that existing members will end up owning between 75% and 80% of the enlarged company if the vote supports the float.

    Two things to consider here;
    a)    Institutional investors, (the likely source of investment), will only invest if there is a promise of rising profits and a rising share price on the back of rising income in the future. Why else would they invest? This means rising subscriptions to the fee paying members of the service over time and/or introducing new revenue streams in the future.
    b)    Should there be a second or third fund raising event in the future, quite likely, then current members’ shareholdings will be diluted even further, possibly to a point where collectively they may end up owning only 49% of the company. At this point the institutions take control of the company and future voting.
     

    Beware of shareholder dilution – it’s a sure-fire way to lose control of a company.

     

     

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  23. dave_d

    I wonder if Gascoigne Hallman will be attending the meeting? Ha ha

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    1. RAL

      Only to record it for future reference….

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    2. harry hood

      Well they are members…..and wouldn’t they want to cash in what they can?

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  24. RealAgent

    Do you know I love it when people come in to these discussions saying “we’ve been conned” when they clearly aren’t even members!

    That said I think there is a case to answer for people like myself who supported OTM at the start and have continued to pay every month honouring the 5 year contract I signed.

    My questions though are:

    1. Converting my mutual share into what sort of shares exactly? At present my vote counts as exactly the same vote as another member firm, including KF and Savills, clearly that will be less likely to be the case in future as such any agreement AM need from me will also change.

    2. Looking at the reports so far, shares are to be offered for another 5 year commitment. Well for well documented reasons OTM has not continued the marketing and advertising strategy it promised, so in affect our continued support has been one sided i.e we kept our side of the bargain they didn’t, so is there going to be an element of compensation in any share allocation.

    3. I have my reservations about how OTM will be received on the stock market and accordingly what loss of control and future direction that will mean, but what is obvious is that with Savills having taken a large part of an online only operation there will be online agents advertising with OTM firmly on the discussion table.

    There are a lot of answers needed.

     

    Report
    1. Rivero

      My advice…write off what you’ve committed so far and get the hell out of Dodge.

       

      My opinion is that every additional £ you put in is another £ spent on a substandard product with ultimate aims no longer in line with your own.

       

      You can chase Blackjack if you like but the odds are the dealer is going to take your stack.

      Report
      1. smile please

        My advice.

        Stay, vote No, Leave.

        What a horrid company they are.

        Report
        1. GPL

          SmilePlease….. yes, Blightmove is a Horrid, Horrid Company….. many of us agree with you 100%

          Finally….. we agree on something!

          Report
    2. GPL

      The Members certainly need answers. Spin from external/3rd parties is merely White Noise.

      Report
  25. Ric

    erm…….

    If a core term in a contract is changed by the provider, then said contract cannot be enforced. You may find, many agents have an easy get out if the OOP rule is dropped.

    Connells will be delighted I assume, albeit a fair bit of cash down, but it would also open the door to them feeling pretty miffed the very thing AM have defended so vigorously was in the throws of being dropped.

    Confused.com

    Although floating a loss making company seems to get the investors all giddy about chucking money in…. perhaps OTM will be worth a few billion by the end of September!

     

     

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    1. dave_d

      This is what I was thinking – can a court case be overturned based on this new evidence?

      Report
      1. GPL

        “Evidence?” …….bring on Scully & Mulder?

        You mean a “proposal” which Members would Vote On…… however you won’t be Voting or course, as a non-member.

        Report
  26. Trevor Mealham

    Good move on two accounts.

    Fundraising

    Dropping the OOPr. Maybe some of us doing other platform things that came under the exclusion then dont have a problem.

    Report
  27. BrianP293

    Has anyone got any idea of how much the shares would be worth when it floats?

    Report
    1. GPL

      No? ……..Does anyone know the Winning Lottery Numbers for this week?

      Report
  28. cyberduck46

    >The ‘one other portal’ rule will be dropped.

     

    What happened in regard to the Court Case? Wasn’t there talk of an appeal?

     

    I wonder if there was an out of Court settlement so that they could get on with their plans to float. Just speculating, I haven’t been paying that much attention to this story.

     

    Report
    1. PeeBee

      “I haven’t been paying that much attention to this story.”

      Until now, that is?

      Yeah, right.

      Report
    2. GPL

      I wonder all the time……. lonely as a cloud?

      Report
  29. StatementOfFact

    Hahahaha. Stop, you’re killing me. Who is going to invest “up to £50million” in this?

    I get calls from Zoopla every month asking me to sign up, I have NEVER had a call from OnTheMarket. If they aren’t even approaching agents to join, none of the general public have ever heard of them, why on earth would any investor want to chuck money in to it?

    Report
    1. GPL

      “none of the general public have ever heard of them”……not a statement of fact from StatementOfFact.

      I’m just ensuring the actual facts are clear.

      The public HAVE certainly heard of…. and ARE aware of OnTheMarket.

      I suspect the public are NOT aware though that Blightmove are similar for instance to The Big Energy Suppliers whereby they slap users with Unjustified Annual Price Increases….. because their dominance allows them carte blanche.

      Let’s imagine McDonalds increasing their 99p burger by 10% every year because their dominance allowed them to? …….I suspect those drive thru’s and tills would be ringing much less as their customers would not see the value of paying £2, £3, £5 etc for a 99p burger.

      Blightmove is a very expensive 99p Burger!

      I finally dumped BT my phone/broadband provider after decades of being skelped annually with unjustified price increases! …….why oh why did I sit with them for soooooo long when I knew I was being shafted financially?!Anyway…….having switched I now save £100 per quarter, £400 per year! ……and I have encouraged many others to dump BT……..and in addition? ……..BT provide the line to my supplier?!!!, my supplier gets a better service from BT than I did and the fault I wanted fixed for months from BT and it never was….. is fixed in 48 Hours by the New Supplier via BT!!!

      Report
  30. DesRes87

    I find it difficult to understand why any member would even consider staying with OTM following this announcement. Some serious questions have to be asked of Ian S & the board members:

    1. Why risk £2m+ defending the 1OPR if they had considered dropping it anyway?

    2. Why would dropping the 1OPR increase/ gain market share now when they had previously advocated the opposite was necessary?

    3. Why would new members join now the original  USP has been ditched and founding members betrayed?

    4. If the ‘New Direction’ is such a ‘winner’ Why not raise the new monies via membership loan notes first and if insufficient raised via commercial lending? – There would be no need to betray the founding principal, the USP would then be a clear call to attract new membership and benefits would accrue to those agencies that were members – Simples!

    5. If so much management time had been ‘wasted’ on defending the 1OPR case – How have they managed to piece together this new strategy so quickly!?

    6. Ar best this seems like crisis management and at worst it seems like a cynical and planned exit route by Ian S & fellow board members to trouser £m’s – Which is it?

     

     

     

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    1. GPL

      3) ……the founding members betrayed?

      Obviously you don’t have a Vote? …….I do!

      Blightmove effectively betray their Members every year with unjustified increases…… let’s remember to keep that spotlight firmly focused when spouting who is betraying who!

      Report
  31. CPestateagentesq

    Now i understand why my local OTM rep has gone on holiday for a fortnight…

    Report
    1. GPL

      Yes….. it’s what I do when I receive my UAI Letter from Blightmove.

      Report
  32. Neutral

    The Evening Standard: “This float looks like a dog with fleas” !!!

    http://www.standard.co.uk/business/russell-lynch-if-gerald-ronson-is-selling-then-you-buy-at-your-peril-a3604061.html

     

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    1. GPL

      Neutral? …….really?

      Unable to summon up your own viewpoint?

      So, I read in a newspaper that….. “The Earth is Flat, we’ll fall off the edge!”

      I’ll just post a link rather than post my viewpoint? ………looking in your mirror you must see a computer mouse atop your shoulders? Copy, Click, Post!

      It’s hardly involving to post a “link”?

      Neutral? ……not!

      Report
  33. Woodentop

    Oh dear … AM what a load of clowns you are. Your are demented to think that many agents will either understand or want to understand what you are doing. This is not the way forward to win heart and souls, it not the way to promote OTM to the public who won’t give a stuff about your share price. All that agents want is an outlet for the public to use. If you are saying OTM cannot survive without listing on the stock market …… you are a dead duck. You do not understand, BIG TIME, independent estate agents.

    Report
    1. JohnDavies86

      AM board members are the ultimate snake oil salesmen (snake oil – a product, policy, etc. of little real worth or value that is promoted as the solution to a problem.) Calling them clowns is actually an insult to clowns.

      Report
      1. Woodentop

        Unnecessary post.

        Report
        1. harry hood

          How people can still believe that this isn’t about lining IS pocket and the London Poshies ego beggars belief,

          Report
  34. GPL

    Like other t*rds that have floated to the surface to make updated negative comments here, a variation of which I have read over & over from them in times past…… I have floated to the surface previously to broadcast the positive about Agents Mutual/OnTheMarket, many previous comments from me are well documented on this very forum……

    However, this time? …….it’s different.

    Zoopla I still disregard as unworthy of comment as their ambition is akin to Neymar…… take the money and remain a No 2!

    Blightmove….. I still regard their bare faced profiteering from automatic annual escalation of member fees as shameful business practice ……those annual rises based only on their dominance, and in turn, their justification for the most basic method of simple profiteering from members whilst providing no added value.

    I can’t support the comments or views of many of the anti AM/OTM posted here because so many of those floating t*rds have no genuine interest in our industry.

    Sooooooo…… what’s different for me after this latest announcement from IS & Co? They asked for our support…… we gave it….. and in return, on so many levels you failed your supporters…… yet you resurface with the proposal of a New Beginning?

    Sorry, with your action or lack of…… you failed to prove to me that you actively engaged with your supporters…… you open your door when it suits you, otherwise it has remained resolutely shut.

    In my view you are no better than Blightmove as both you and they have no real interest in their estate agency members.

    I look forward to the day when every Blightmove Member will post their monthly fees online for all to see in order that we can have our chosen online advertiser deliver us/our industry collective value for money rather than the blind pricing that Blightmove uses against estate agents/our industry.

    I remember sitting in a well known hotel many years ago, full of estate agents who advertised with the largest newspaper group and were sick & tired of being shafted financially & being dictated to. In Room A – said BlightNewspaper Group, In Room B – alternative Newspaper Group….. it came down to all those estate agents being ready to change advertising supplier (no cartel – simply advertising users who were fed up being relentlessly shafted by a Dictator)…… and moments prior to a momentous switch from A to B…… BlightNewspaper Group caved in and saw the light! …….the estate agents just wanted to be treated fairly and pay a fair price for advertising services! They were fed up feeding the relentless monster who kept growing uncontrollably.

    I believe the estate agency industry has competition on a wide range of levels however with Online Portal Advertising we have the Blightmove Relentless Profit Monster!

    I would have thought by now that the UK Estate Agency Industry might have woken up to the fact that we are Users of Online Advertising who are simply NOT receiving value for money? …….so far, all I hear is the sound of muted baaaaa’img as we are shepherded along the lonely Blightmove Portal Road.

    RIP AM/OTM…… you lost me some time ago.

    Hello? Hello?? Hello??? …….UK Estate Agency Industry? Are you ever going to seek value for money from Blightmove?

     

     

    Report
    1. Industry_Pro

      Powerful words GPL – just what do you propose in order to extract VFM from Rightmove?

      Report
      1. GPL

        Ipro….. personally, I load my New Instructions onto OTM 1st…. clients have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever.

        Just imagine all UK Agents uploading to OTM 1st?

        We’ve read it countless times on PIE…. however, how many agents consistently do just this?

        It costs nothing…. it demonstrates that we, the agent, choose where we upload…. small beginnings!

        A company can only poke a customer so much!

        Report
  35. Woodentop

    There is nothing wrong with OTM and what is started out to do and still can for the future for High Street agents.

     

    AM appears to have lost its way and forgotten that the majority of agents who support them are independent agents. Many will have their own views on what they want for their business. AM have forgotten this basic principle when you have a collective of different mind sets if they think that a floatation is the way forward. It may be ….. but was never on the cards in the very beginning so a big shock to many who will or will not understand. Do you really need to go this route? Who will be the losers? The latter is what will worry most  agents. I seem to recall RM did the same,  when founder agents were offered shares at start-up, they lost them when they went PLC?

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  36. docklander52

    I have said a few times that perhaps OTM should have settled the massive court case privately and quietly. This seems more pertinent a point now, more than ever.

    Where is the wisdom in spending 7 figures in legal fees defending a clause that you then seek to remove?

    Further, what happens if members vote against the flotation? Isn’t that a David Cameron-esque situation?

    Report
  37. JohnDavies86

    Let’s all be clear on what you are being asked on vote on on Sept 6th:

    * Savills, Knight Frank, Spicers, etc to have 50x more shares than you

    * Higher listing fees and run for profit and shareholder returns

    * New 5 year commitment to over pay for something that doesnt deliver

    * Big payday for Ian Springett and his cronies no doubt

    My guess is that members will be told that they will get their £5,000 spent so far back today if they promise to spend £10,000 more tomorrow. Problem is that spending the £5,000 was justified (although questionable) when you had equal ownership and high hopes for the project. But spending even £1 in the future when the shareholdings are being massively stacked towards the Mayfair lot and when the project is deemed to have failed makes no sense at all. This is a desperate last roll of the dice which makes sense for Springett and founders who don’t want to admit failure but not for anyone else…

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  38. marcH

    Leaning back on a glorious Sunday morning and trying to be detached about all this…

    Once all the justifiable anger and sense of betrayal subsides following the shock announcement we members need to ask ourselves: what did we seriously think was going to happen to OTM following the successful court case? There are some thoughtful posters here (eg Peebee) whose views I have followed and often supported throughout the twists and turns of the AM story. As a result, I decided to become a Gold Member/Loan Note holder back in 2014. Like many here, I was disappointed after the first 18 months or so in terms of OTM’s public profile but never wavered from my view that its USP, the OOP rule, would ultimately win through and, given 5 years of traction and increasing public recognition and usage, OTM would become No. 2 to RM, having pushed Z into 3rd slot. Of course, it was disappointing that so many (ourselves included) dropped Z in favour of RM, thereby turning a mammoth into a behemoth that would come to trample its own children. But that was happening anyway and No. 2 is better than No. 3 because realistically No.1 was never going to happen even if the OOP rule were dropped.

    However, we are where we are after the court case. It had to be initiated by AM to stop the rot. They had no alternative but to send a public signal that they were not anti-competitive so an out-of-court settlement would never have achieved this. Having won (although frankly did the public care?) they had to move forward with Plan B which was probably always going to be their ‘exit’ strategy from the start. Clearly the OOP was its USP but it was cited by so many in the industry (and on PIE) as being a reason (excuse?) not to join so that dropping it now appears to make commercial sense.

    Staying as a mutual and going on another round of fund-raising from amongst its existing supporters would be problematic to say the least given that many of us have felt let down by the lack of communication from AM in the last year and continued lack of advertising/profile. We might have supported a new Loan Note at 10% pa but it would have been reluctantly and with a sense of throwing good money after bad. A new bold strategy was necessary and we all have a say in whether we agree on the new direction or not (1 member/1 vote and 90% threshold). I like others here will wait to see what the proposal is before jumping to any conclusions. I hope I can make a decision based on pragmatism rather than emotion but KEY things (amongst others) that I personally want to see are

    1. that the entity that emerges from its chrysalis (OTM plc) remains agent-controlled with a guarantee that this control is NOT diluted below a minimum 51% for the foreseeable future

    2. that all existing members (but not the £50 ones) have their current fees frozen for the next 5 years

    3. that adequate liquidity is maintained in the shares (AIM shares can be notoriously illiquid and therefore difficult to trade)

    There are other issues like whether on-liners will be permitted to list etc etc

    Posters here and over the years who keep referring to Ian Springett as a ‘snake-oil’ salesman or worse seem to me like they feel they’ve been conned. Some of the comments come from those who are not members and/or have been hostile to the whole AM/OTM concept from the off, so can be safely ignored. Others from people whose views I respect. I care not a jot how much IS or others earn or what their ‘personal agenda’ may be. My sole interest is in whether OTM can deliver. IS’s pre-launch efforts and the first 18 months of operation were truly impressive. I just sincerely hope that he and the Board and we members can repeat that success in a new format, whatever that turns out to be. It was down to us at the beginning. It’s down to us now. This is frankly the last time an agent-backed, agent-controlled body will get a chance to help itself before we all end up as cattle-fodder to The Duopoly. Happy reading!!

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    1. Woodentop

      Well said, thumbs up from me. The anti-brigade have never come up with an honest reason for OTM not to succeed, it is after all only a web site, no different to RM or Z or whoever you like to name. The difference is, it is ours, it costs less and leaves us in control. Will the new direction change all that …. that is the question.

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      1. PeterS52

        ‘The anti-brigade have never come up with an honest reason for OTM not to succeed’ – perhaps you are new to the digital world but allow me to enlighten. There is in fact no reason for OTM to succeed. There are plenty of reasons for it not to succeed. It is a digital idea competing with well established players who are far more innovative. It has a bad website, offers far less value to its customers than its competitors, sues its customers who don’t want to stay with it, excludes parts of industry that others embrace and is run by people without any digital experience. Why would it succeed? Who on its board knows anything about digital? It’s like saying that a group of cab drivers should succeed in taking on Uber. Agents should do what they do best and sell houses and not try to do things they don’t know anything about. You have to be selectively blind not to see how much money has been wasted here for nothing. #Doomedtofail

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    2. Robert May

      This is frankly the last time an agent-backed, agent-controlled body will get a chance to help itself before we all end up as cattle-fodder to The Duopoly.

      I don’t think it is. Both Rightmove and Zoopla are vulnerable each for different reasons. Rightmove is complacent, its dominance and profit margins means it thinks it can sit back and do nothing.

      Zoopla has a shed load of legacy issues connected to its multiple  platforms, adding Expert Agent to the fold just made things worse. Agents who genuinely loved and respected their software systems are having they patience tried as the legacy catches up with a provider who doesn’t have the domain knowledge to cope with what they’ve put together and are losing those with the slkills to retain agent clients.

      De-mutualising  means exactly that Agents Mutual becomes Agents, there is no common  thread holding them together.

      I hope the board  convince  agents this is a good move if only to close off the OOPR.  3 strong portals is good for competition but I can see a return to pre 2011 when Findaproperty and Primelocation meant there were 4 strong portals 3 of which were trying to break Rightmove’s dominance.

      It will be interesting to hear the pitch at the AM roadshows over the summer.

      Report
  39. marcH

    Thanks for the ‘dislike’ Mr/Ms Anonymous. Perhaps you’d like to share with me your reasons? 🙂

    Report
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