Hybrid agency eMoov has put itself up for sale and appointed a City lawyer to act as mediator in any auction, it has been claimed.
Based on unnamed sources, the Sky News website speculates that the company, which recently merged with rival Tepilo and online lettings firm Urban, is facing a cash squeeze.
The Negotiator has approached eMoov which would only say that it “could not comment on the specifics” except to say that “not all aspects [of the Sky story] are accurate at all”.
One alternative interpretation doing the rounds is that eMoov is looking for fresh financing to back its growth and will offer a new investor a Dragon’s Den-style share of the business.
The revelation will be a surprise to many. Emoov has raised £4.5 million from two online crowdfunding campaigns and CEO Russell Quirk has been talking up a stock market flotation that would have valued the company at over £100 million.
Sky also claims that Foxtons has been in takeover talks with eMoov. Quirk has always said he’d consider a deal with a larger traditional agency and recently told The Negotiator that he’d thought about a merger with Countrywide.
“I think bringing a business like ours and Countrywide’s together is the future. The high street model isn’t sustainable as fees come under pressure,” he said (pictured, left).
“My vision would be to sell off a lot of their brands, consolidate their branch footprint considerably, use tech like ours to delight the customer, reduce the cost of servicing massively and have a challenger fixed-fee brand that is completely separate.
Russell also recently predicted a ‘blended’ future for the industry featuring agencies with both traditional branches and work-at-home ‘local experts offering different fee choices from different brands’.