TV presenter with £8.7m ‘tied up in collapsed agency’ agreed to equity-only deal, Emoov founder reveals

Claims that Sarah Beeny has “millions” tied up in a collapsed estate agency are correct, Russell Quirk has confirmed.

However, he said that the £8.7m loss is a technical one – on paper – because under the deal by which Beeny sold Tepilo to Emoov, the TV presenter received shares, not money.

In May 2018, Tepilo along with online letting agency Urban merged with Emoov. The merger was said at the time to be worth £100m, but Emoov went into administration in December that year.

As EYE reported last week, Tepilo is owed £8.7m as part of an “inter-company loan”, according to new documents filed at Companies House by administrators James Cowper Kreston.

Also owed money is media firm Northern & Shell Ventures, owned by publishing tycoon and former Express owner Richard Desmond. A secured creditor, it is owed £2.8m.

Yesterday’s Sunday Times said that “property queen” Beeny, whose TV series include Help! My House is Falling Down, had been left “with a complete wreck” after selling Tepilo.

Quirk, who founded Emoov, told EYE yesterday: “The Tepilo purchase was an equity-only deal, not cash. At the time, Sarah owned just 10% of the company having been diluted by Richard Desmond in December 2017 previously. There was no cash payment as part of this or any other deal.

“Sarah isn’t owed any money as part of the merger deal and agreed as I did, to owning shares in the combined entity only.

“The £8.7m referenced is the sum that was on the Tepilo balance sheet from before our deal was done and represents the monies that Desmond had ‘invested’ in Tepilo for years, previous to the Emoov deal, in operating capital and media for equity.

“This sum was written off by Desmond when our deal completed and is not ‘owed’.

“However, the £2.5m that Desmond did eventually agree to pay as part of the acquisition by Emoov of Tepilo was half that which was originally agreed in the term sheet that Northern and Shell (Desmond’s wholly owned entity) entered into in early 2018.

“They insisted that the sum ‘ranked first’ above other creditors (including staff) so that they would receive priority in the event of a call by creditors or an administration.

“Northern and Shell will therefore receive the bulk of the proceeds from the ultimate sale of the business to Mashroom and to Pattinsons over and above other creditors, shareholders, management and staff.”

Start-up firm Mashroom bought parts of Emoov – the name, branding and platform – from the administrators and has since relaunched the online agency. Auction firm Pattinson purchased the property listings.


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  1. IheartRE

    Headphones Quirk explains the dodgy structure and Richard Desmond proves to be quite astute about his gambling…

  2. AgencyInsider

    Underlines that illusory ‘value’ is just that – illusory. No matter how much ‘bigging up’ goes on.

  3. seenitall

    thank goodness its only a technical loss……..

  4. J1

    This business was always worthless

    Quirk just needs to go now – please, just go………

  5. houseseller

    Agree J1-his dulcet tomes on Talk Radio this morning as their go to property expert. What a way to start the day !!

  6. GPL

    Well, there is some justice re Sarah Dream-maker.

    Some dreams just don’t come true.


  7. Hillofwad71

    Many ordinary  people lost money ,jobs. deposits in this paper chase .The £100m merger  where  the “promised” investment failed to materialise. Spare some sympathy  for the small Crowdcube investor with the snake oil pitch  delivered by Headphones in July


    Knowing full well that the investment  failed to  materialise still  waxed lyrical that the monies were for marketing expenses for a future IPO and not just to keep the lights on for a few months in the vain hope a benefactor  might appear

    They didn’t and the whole pack of cards came tumbling down


    He knew then spraying the champagne  in celebration  after “successfully”lifting monies from mug punters pockets rs it would only last a few months unless  a miracle happened


    This industry is far too forgiving of” charactersl”  like  Headphones Allowing him  to take centre stage again  as if nothing  had  happened No respectful  interlude of reflection


    No wonder the public has a low opinion of estate agents

  8. Blondage

    The Emperor’s New Clothes….
    Clients & staff taken on knowing the investment had been withdrawn & they’d be personally left out of pocket. I’d imagine the impact of which was much harsher in comparison to some of the high rollers involved.
    Who was it who leaked stories to the industry to big up Emoov I wonder (joke).
    This self professed expert & the love of his own voice needs to stop. It’s embarrassing, vulgar & disrespectful to those who were conned.
    It is my hope we can regulate & remove such behaviour from our industry.

  9. GPL

    I sincerely hope that this whole fiasco is not swept conveniently under the table.
    Anyone responsible for misleading statements that encouraged any investor to pump money in …… they must be held accountable, otherwise this method of raising funds needs (for any business that purports to be Booming, then goes BUST!!!) to be stopped until it is fully regulated.
    It’s not clever, it’s not funny, it’s NOT Victimless! …….yet, suspects merely evaporate then re-emerge later, all rinse-washed & apparently sparkly clean?      


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