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Could Purplebricks eventually run out of cash, asks leading consultant

UPDATE: Purplebricks CEO Vic Darvey replies to Andrew Stanton's analysis of the companies financial performance, saying US and Oz withdrawal will lead to profitability.

Nigel Lewis

A leading proptech consultant has scrutinised Purplebricks’ published financial figures since it launched in 2015 and uncovered some surprising results.

The research, which has been completed by Andrew Stanton for The Negotiator, reveals that £481 million has been spent on running the company over the past five years while it has generated £363 million in revenue, raised £187 million from investors but still lost £117.3 million.

Stanton also estimates that the company currently has £35.2 million cash left in the bank, down from its publicly-stated bank balance of £41.6 million published in October last year.

But what the figures reveal is that Purplebricks is likely to be in a race to reduce its costs and increase its revenues before this cash at the bank runs out.

Stanton’s says its latest half-year results in October 2019 show that Purplebricks must drastically reduce its losses when it reports at the end of its financial year in April.


At that time, he expects it to post a turnover of £120 million, for the UK and Canada operations combined but with loses of around £20 million, which would be a significant improvement on its previous year’s losses of £54.32 million.

But this would still burn much of the cash left at the bank, which by April 2020 may be as low as £30 million, after having been a cash mountain of over £152 million in April 2018.

These figures may be based on interpreting Purplebricks’ current and past performance, but they explain why CEO Vic Darvey recently revealed several drastic cost-cutting measures including the reduction of its territory owners from 100 to 40.

But Stanton says the most baffling aspect of the hybrid agency’s finances is that, as it battles to make a Group profit, it has committed to a multi-million pound official sponsorship of Team GB for this year’s Olympics, a package which is rumoured to be costing the company up to £14 million,  a figure Darvey strongly denies – see below.

Statement from Vic Darvey

“There are a number of fundamental mistakes with this analysis. Firstly, the big cash drain on our business has always been from our overseas expansion (US and Australia) and we’ve now exited these markets.

“Secondly, our continuing operations (UK and Canada) are profitable at an EBITDA level, so without the burden of overseas expansion, we have a strong new strategy that focuses on our successful businesses and we are now well positioned to grow profitably over the next few years.

Lastly, the rumours that our Team GB sponsorship cost us “up to £14m” are completely incorrect and massively exaggerated. Our marketing budget is clearly disclosed in our H1 20 Results Presentation and anyone following it closely can see that our marketing costs were actually down year on year in the first half.”

Read more recent news about Purplebricks

Find out more about Andrew Stanton.


February 21, 2020

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