Shares in hybrid estate agency Purplebricks crashed by almost 15% yesterday after news the day before that co-founder and CEO Michael Bruce had left the company and that it would be withdrawing from Australia.
The Purplebricks share price started the day at £1.20 a share but at one point sank to £1.02p before rallying by a few pence at the end of the day.
This all-time share price low marks an extremely dark day for the company and is only a few pence away from its original launch price of £1 a share.
At one point the company’s stock reached £4.58 a share as feverish City investors were buoyed by its bold plans to turn property markets purple in the US, Canada, Germany, Australia as well as in the UK.
Purplebricks remains profitable here but has struggled to make the same rapid headway in the US and Oz.
“During the two and a half years that Purplebricks has been operating in Australia, market conditions have become increasingly challenging,” says the company’s most recent trading update.
“This, combined with some execution errors, has resulted in the business not delivering the progress the Board expected.
“The Board has therefore concluded that the prospective returns from Australia are not sufficient to justify continued investment.
“Accordingly, the Group has chosen to exit the Australian market and the business there has been put into an orderly run down with immediate effect, pending closure.”
New CEO Vic Darvey (pictured, top) says: “Going forward, we have a very clear understanding of the levers available to us to achieve growth. We have two outstanding businesses in the UK and Canada, both of which enjoy market-leading positions.”