Rival Purplebricks bidder plots to hijack £1 takeover – with £1.5m offer
Beleaguered estate agent Purplebricks has received a rival takeover offer from one of its major shareholders, a week after agreeing to sell its business for just £1 in a cut-price rescue deal.
Lecram Holdings, which owns just over 5pc of the company, has tabled a £1.5m offer for Purplebricks, and claimed that the current proposal to sell the company to rival Strike is “not in the best interest of shareholders”.
Property portal Strike, which is backed by Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk founder Sir Charles Dunstone, last week agreed to rescue struggling Purplebricks for a token consideration of £1.
Lecram Holdings said: “We believe that the Strike transaction agreed by the board of the company is not in the best interests of shareholders and could end up with them receiving nothing.
“We believe our offer gives shareholders the certainty of cash now rather than vague promises from a discredited board of something more somewhere down the line.”
Shares in the company jumped 40pc to 0.66p, above Lecram’s offer price of 0.5p per share. The leap suggests traders now expect a bidding war for the company.
Purplebricks’ board urged shareholders to ignore the new offer and back the Strike deal.
The company said in a statement: “The Board does not currently consider that the proposal reflects an improvement on the proposed sale of business and assets to Strike Limited.”
“The Board therefore continues to recommend the company’s shareholders vote in favour the resolutions being proposed at its general meeting.”
Shareholders will vote on the Strike’s deal on June 2.
Purplebricks was forced to put itself up for sale after over expansion and regulatory mistakes at its lettings business left it struggling with high costs and falling revenues.
Upon announcing the sale to Strike, Sir Charles Dunstone told The Telegraph that Purplebricks was “too big and cumbersome”.
Sir Charles said: “Purplebricks’ listings have shrunk in the last few years. It was too big a business for such few listings. Now either we get more listings or we shrink the business.”
Lecram Holdings pursued an activist campaign against the Purplebricks’ board prior to the sale, calling for the company’s chairman, Paul Pindar, to step down. Mr Pindar survived an attempt by Lecram to oust him last year.