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.