Shock as Countrywide sells almost half its stake in Zoopla

Countrywide has sold almost half its shares in Zoopla.

This morning Zoopla announced to the stock exchange its investments, altogether £1m, in four proptech start-ups.

The UK’s largest property chain has sold 8,659,302 shares in the portal business for a price of 220p per share.

The announcement was made after close of stock market trading yesterday.

Gross proceeds realised by Countrywide will be £19.1m.

Following the disposal, Countrywide continues to hold 9,234,473 Zoopla shares representing 2.2% of Zoopla’s ordinary shares.

Details of the use of proceeds from the disposal will be provided at the time of the Countrywide preliminary results on February 25.

According to the statement to the City, Countrywide has a long-term strategic partnership with Zoopla. Countrywide said it will continue to work closely with Zoopla in the future.

Yesterday, it was announced that Countrywide led a deal with Connells and Zoopla to invest in proptech firm Fixflo.

This morning, Zoopla announced a total of four deals to the stock market, including its investment in Fixflo.

The other three Zoopla deals are with Trussle, an online mortgage adviser; Landbay, a peer-to-peer lender for property which will allow Zoopla users to invest in the UK residential property market from as little as £100; and PropertyDetective, a provider of property and neighbourhood research reports, which will provide more in-depth property data to Zoopla users and agents.

Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of ZPG, said: ““We are delighted to announce our investments and partnerships with these exciting companies that will help us to further differentiate our offering for both our users and partners. These deals confirm our ongoing commitment to leading innovation and nurturing UK technology entrepreneurs and together with our ongoing internal product developments will continue to see us leading the way across the property space.”

The City has started to react both to news of Countrywide’s disposal of almost half its shares in Zoopla, and to Zoopla’s new investments.

This morning Exane analyst William Packer said: “Countrywide have disclosed overnight the halving of their stake in Zoopla to circa 2%.

“This decision comes around 20 months after listing with the Zoopla share price below IPO price (and well below Rightmove on a relative basis) – although we note the placing price is at 220p in line with the IPO price. In our view, Countrywide’s decision reflects the sustainability of the new competitive equilibrium.

“We see Agents’ Mutual as here to stay as the number three player and the hoped-for sharp rebound in Zoopla membership is unlikely to occur in the near term.

“As a reminder, in the early stages of development Zoopla handed a significant stake to the largest listed estate agents (including Countrywide) to obtain their inventory for the new portal. Zoopla subsequently merged with DMGT-owned DPG and finally listed circa 50% of its shares. Zoopla separately have also announced some small investments in property tech start-ups including Fixflo

“We rate Zoopla neutral.”

  • In an analysis of Zoopla in the business section of the Telegraph (February 17), writer Isabelle Fraser described Countrywide’s sale of half its shares in Zoopla as a “concerning development for investors”. However, the analysis draws attention to Zoopla’s strengths, including that it fended off the challenge from OnTheMarket, is riding a booming property market, and has high numbers of loyal users. It also identifies opportunities for Zoopla, including  plans for a long-term strategic partnership with Countrywide.

 

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13 Comments

  1. adrian

     
    Whilst I appreciate the efforts of Countrywide and Connells I have more faith in Zoopla. Who better than Zoopla, a former startup, to spearhead this proptech movement. This is great news for proptech, and it’s great to see Zoopla support the proptech ecosystem in the UK.

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    1. hardly impartial

      Hmmmm…I think the real issue is that investors may not be particular cheered by the sideshow offered re some relatively tiddly investments by Zoopla whose core identity is a property portal

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  2. NewsBoy

    By, by rather than buy, buy for Hoopla then. The rot has at last set in.  It won’t be long, maybe 12/18 months before OTM overtakes Hoopla and then it will only be downhill for both Hoopla and Wrongmove.  Not a bad start to the day really!

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    1. jmeapps01

      Ha ha ha ha…. hahah ha ha ahhhhh …. Ohhhh… Should rename himself Oldnewsboy

       

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  3. PeeBee

    I would like to suggest a new title for this article:

    ‘Shock’ as Countrywide selling almost half its stake in Zoopla doesn’t get a mention on the bog door down the other pub.

    For an Industry news site whose boast on Tw@tter is ‘Estate Agent Industry News at its Best!‘ you’ve simply gotta wonder how or why such a major development has seemingly slipped through their net.

    Erm…or have you?

    Answers, on a postcard, please…

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    1. Titus Aduxass

      Oh really PeeBee. You’re not still wandering in to that old gaff are you? The beer’s flat as a pancake and there’s never much chat.  Still, might be worth it tomorrow cos no doubt there will be some sort of splutterings about today’s goings on.

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      1. PeeBee

        Oh… I’m not so sure, Mr Aduxass.

        It seems news gets swept under the beerstained shagpile if it has a ‘Z’ in it.

        Some people could potentially come to the conclusion that there is some censorship going on.

        Me? I’m of the opinion that some people work on the principle that what you don’t know can’t hurt you – so best not broadcast it in the first place.

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        1. Titus Aduxass

          Well, I stuck my nose in the door this morning expecting that the old gaff would be alive with stories about how wonderful life is. All I could find was some bird with a supermarket trolley blathering on about how she luuurrrves her friends – though she didn’t mention how she treated one of them yesterday and how they’re not really her friend any more. Anyway, nothing to see there, so I’ll settle back into this place, which is so much livelier.

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  4. the message

    major development…errrr……why? still cobtracted, need the cash to buy more of us out……luvverly jubberly!!

     

    total non story, jog on peebee old chap – if only you expended the same energy holding old springers to account

     

     

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    1. PeeBee

      OOOOHHHH – somebody doesn’t like it when I have a go at the knackered old boozer down the road…

      …do I detect a raw nerve there?

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      1. Robert May

        Someone who doesn’t like you having a pop at EAT and someone who has a very vocal and a very clear and consistent message about  On the market  and someone who agrees  with me that rogue agents should  feel the full weight of legislation?  Morning Simon!

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  5. PeeBee

    HA!  It got a measly thirteen word mention in the FOURTH paragraph of a pro-RM&Z ‘article’ today.

    Hiding old news in non-news – whatever next?

    I would normally say you couldn’t make it up – but it’s right there in plain sight.

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  6. the message

    Oh do me afavour robert you old bore, and Peebee, you should know better. For what it is worth I think EAT is a shocking pile of old codswallop. That help, useful? burst a few balloons of the people who always look for an angle. Why not accept that a few independent agents are just genuinely and totally frustrated at how OTM has been set up and executed, and are honestly trying to help, instead of automatically trying to find a conspiracy theory behind everything we say.

     

    when will you realise that its us people who havent joined that are now key, and hearing and listening to our concerns is one way of trying to push OTM on to the success we would all like.

     

    Sorry I am not going to blindly follow, and apologies for poking fun at those of you who are too naive to ask the most basic of questions in terms of execution, but thats life.

     

    I will continue bursting your ego filled balloons.

     

     

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