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Agencies & People

Purplebricks CEO sells off shares worth £16m

Hybrid agent's co-founder cashes in as deal with Axel Springer to buy his shares kicks in.

Nigel Lewis

Payday for Purplebricks co-founder and CEO Michael Bruce (pictured, above) has arrived after it emerged that he has sold shares worth just shy of £16 million.

Michael sold 4.4 million shares for £3.60p per share on Thursday last week.

His disposal of shares would appear to be part of the £125 million deal between German media giant Axel Springer and Purplebricks signed off by shareholders last week, also on Thursday.

As well as buying a huge tranche of 27.7 million new shares issued by Purplebricks on AIM, Axel Springer also agreed to buy shares held by several directors of the hybrid agency, including Michael Bruce and his brother Kenny.

Good deal

The brothers and the others struck a good deal with Axel Springer, as the shares are being bought off them at a considerable premium to their current AIM trading price of £3.20p.

It’s also good timing – the Purplebricks share price has been dropping since the Axel Springer deal was announced, including a reduction of nearly 4% on Friday and down from £3.33 on 19th April and £4.89 in early January.

But the lower share price also reflects some City investors’ worries over a recent UBS investment update that questioned whether Purplebricks could sustain its recent rapid growth in the UK.

This extra cash raised by the new shares will be spent on speeding up its fast-moving roll-out in America, supporting entry into new markets – which could mean in the Europe where Axel Springer is a player in the property portal market – and to fund an upgrade of its digital CRM and property search systems.

April 24, 2018

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