Purplebricks: Struggling online estate agent puts itself up for sale Published

17th February 2023
Home > News > Purplebricks: Struggling online estate agent puts itself up for sale Published

Reported by Simon Read - BBC

Online estate agent Purplebricks is up for sale after revealing it expects to lose between £15-£20m this year.

It said the potential of the group may be better realised under an "alternative ownership structure". After being founded in 2012 the firm had dazzling early success but has seen its share price fall 98% from its heights. The company said it believed that Purplebricks' business and brand has significant value.

It had previously indicated that losses this year would be up to £10m, but will now in fact be bigger, because a strategy to focus on the most profitable regions of the country proved more expensive than expected.

It cut revenue expectations for the year by £7.5m, to £60-£65m.


It said it is not in talks with any potential buyer "and is not in receipt of any approach with regard to a possible offer". It has appointed Zeus Capital to assist with a strategic review and said the outcome "may or may not result in a sale of the company".

Purplebricks was founded by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce, who grew up on a council estate in Larne, County Antrim. The idea was to create a lower-cost, more flexible estate agent by charging a flat rate to market a property. The company grew quickly and saw early success after listing on secondary market AIM in 2014.


Its share price climbed to 514.5p in August 2017 but soon fell, following a BBC Watchdog investigation into allegations that it had made misleading claims to customers. On the back of its UK success it had expanded rapidly overseas, opening in Australia in 2016, and in the US and Canada in 2017, but saw losses accelerate as it did so.

It pulled out of Australia and the US after a few years and Michael Bruce left the company in 2019. Last year one of its top 10 shareholders, Lecram Holdings, called for the removal of chairman Paul Pindar. While that was rejected by shareholders, almost a third did vote in favour of his removal, forcing Purplebricks to acknowledge "the level of feeling among investors".

In 2022 the company replaced its finance chief after just nine months in the role.

Share this article
  • icon
  • icon

Related News Articles

Rental market faces new ‘challenges’ as more landlords demand guarantors

There has been a notable increase in the number of tenants being asked to provide a guarantor to secure a rental property, new research has revealed, as lack of supply and inflationary pressures push up average rental prices and landlords seek out additional assurances from tenants. Goodlord analysed more than 220,000 tenancies taken out between January 2020 and June 2023. Its...

How to find the best estate agent for you

Key takeaways When looking for an agent, you'll want someone who can see all the best things about your home, just like you can You’ll also want someone with plenty of experience when it comes to marketing properties like yours Local agents can really help to sell a home because they’ll know an area inside out and can highlight all of its best bits to potential...

OnTheMarket to be sold for £100m to huge property data firm

It has been reported that OnTheMarket (OTM) has been bought for £100m by £33 billion global property data group CoStar. Sky News says the portal, which is due to publish its results today, will also reveal that the portal’s board has approved the sale, persuaded by a bid ‘substantially’ over its current 70p share price. The sale comes after OTM ha...

Bank of England holds base rate at 5.25%

The Bank of England has decided to keep the base rate at the same level for the third review in a row.The Bank of England has decided to hold the base interest rate at 5.25% for the third consecutive review. The last review was November 2nd. The Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets eight times a year to set interest rates. Its nine members vote on wheth...