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£35 million cash boost for Purplebricks as its sells Canadian business

Hybrid agency says disposal is part of its renewed focus on its core UK market but the cash will be useful following the additional costs of surviving the lockdown.

Nigel Lewis


Purplebricks has sold off its Canadian offshoot PBDP for £35 million two years after it arrived in the country with bold plans to make itself a major player.

In July 2018 it acquired local equivalent DuProprio for £29.3 million and subsequently set up a parallel Purplebricks operation.

PBDP has been sold to a local cooperative financial group called Desjardins, effectively ending Purplebricks’ ambitions to become a global brand.

The agency says the sale is part of its efforts to concentrate on the company’s core market in the UK, although it is to grant PBDP a licence to continue to use the Purplebricks brand in Canada for a transitional period until December 2021.

But this deal also gives the hybrid agency a major cash boost, increasing the company’s money at the bank to £66 million, cash which is much needed as the company licks its wounds following the Coronavirus lockdown.

Operating loss

The disposal also removes a potential financial burden from its group’s bottom line. PBDP had an adjusted operating loss of £2.8m for the 10 months ended 30 April 2019 and the book value of its gross assets as at 31 October 2019 was £11.4m.

Given this financial scenario, Purplebricks is fortunate to have received £5.7 million more than it paid for DuProprio two years ago.

Vic Darvey, Purplebricks’ CEO (left), says: “Over the last 14 months, Purplebricks has reset its strategy to give the company a strong foundation for the next phase of its growth.

“Purplebricks’ hybrid, digitally enabled model is more relevant than ever and this simplification of the business will allow management to focus its time and the company’s resources on delivering growth in the core UK market.”

July 15, 2020

One comment

  1. With an uptick in the market due to the actions of the Chancellor and priming the fiscal pump with a SDLT shot in the arm, listings will be up, so revenue will be up for Purplebricks.

    But that cash burn, that as an analyst I have been banging on about never goes away, and this is the online agents big problem, the media cost, those Olympic adverts that digital advertising spend costs well too much. The 35M is an interesting sum, roughly what Countrywide is looking to scoop from selling off its commercial silverware for.

    The difference between the two is Countrywide needs 35M to pay the salaries and stave off the creditors who nervously eye the 95M black hole of debt this lumbering dinosaur carries, whereas Purplebricks may be an agency lite model, but it has zero debt on its spreadsheet, it has never paid a dividend either but that is a different story.

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