Following our story yesterday that major US equity fund Francisco Partners may be considering a takeover of Purplebricks, the agency’s shares staged a significant rally on the London Stock Exchange rising by 5.2%.
Its shares started the day in poor shape at 90p each but rallied soon after trading started, rising at one point to nearly £1 a share before ending the day at 95p. Yesterday FT.com’s Live Market Commentary editor Bryce Elder suggested that Francisco Partners is probably not the only equity fund looking at a Purplebricks takeover or acquisition.
Purplebricks’ stock started the month well, topping out at £1.35 a share, but after the company made the shock announcement that its CEO and co-founder Michael Bruce would be leaving the company, and that its Oz operation was to close, it tanked to £1.07p.
Despite this, as we reported last week, another City fund recently began hoovering up Purplebricks stock. Toscafund Management revealed that it had acquired nearly three million extra Purplebricks shares making it the eighth largest holder of the company’s stock with a total share of 5.64% of the hybrid estate agency.
But if the company were to be taken over, one winner would be Michael Bruce and his wife Isobel, who own 33.1 million shares in the company which, even at today’s much reduced price, would gross them a windfall of £31.32 million.
Former Capital CEO Paul Pindar, who was an early backer of Purplebricks, retains 10.8 million shares in Purplebricks with his wife, Sharon.