Top shareholder sparks a bidding war for beleaguered Purplebric

Major shareholder of troubled online brokerage firm Purplebricks makes a last-ditch effort to sell the company a week after an agreement was reached to sell it with rival Strike

A major shareholder of troubled online broker Purplebricks has made a last-ditch attempt to get hold of the company a week after a sale was agreed with rival Strike.

Lecram Holdings, which owns nearly 5.2 per cent of Purplebricks and is run by activist investor Adam Smith, has made an offer of 0.5 pence per share in cash, valued at approximately £1.5 million. Shares rose 39.2 percent, or 0.19 pence, to 0.66 pence in response.

It comes after Purplebricks signed a deal with Strike this month that would see the online broker sold for a token price of £1, putting 750 jobs at risk.

Strike is backed by high-profile investors, including Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk founder Sir Charles Dunstone, as well as Channel 4’s venture arm. The Strike acquisition will effectively wipe out all Purplebricks shareholders, while CEO Helena Marston and several other board members are in trouble. are being brought. resign.

Purplebricks said Lecram’s proposal was not an “improvement” on the Strike deal and encouraged shareholders to support the latter. Smith previously clashed with Purplebricks in a long-running campaign to oust chairman Paul Pindar.

Swoop: Purplebricks signed a deal with Strike that would see the online broker sold for a token price of £1

Founded in 2012, Purplebricks broke away from the traditional street real estate brokerage model. In 2017, shares peaked at 500p.

But it has been plagued by a failed international expansion and activist investors that have left it facing a cash crunch.

Lecram said the Strike acquisition was “not in the best interests of shareholders and could result in them not receiving anything.”

It said its offer now offered security of cash to investors rather than vague promises from a discredited board of something more sometime in the future.