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Is Axel Springer about to launch takeover bid for Purplebricks?

Substantial stock sell-off by troubled City fund manager Neil Woodford of his share holdings in Purplebricks points to potential future bid.

Nigel Lewis

woodford purplebricks axel springer

Troubled City investment fund manager Neil Woodford has reduced his holdings in Purplebricks.

Woodford Investment Management Ltd yesterday dropped its stock by nearly five million shares in the hybrid agency, helping the fund liquidate assets worth £5.97 million.

Speculation was rife in the City yesterday afternoon that the sell-off by the fund manager pointed to a full takeover of Purplebricks by another large shareholder in the company, Axel Springer.

Last week shares in Purplebricks jumped from £1.25 to £1.32p a share on the news that Axel Springer had been sounding out other shareholders in the company to see if they would be willing to sell their stock.

Shares leap

Axel Springer has chosen its moment well; Neil Woodford’s fund has been cutting its stakes in a number of London-listed stocks recently after the star fund manager controversially suspended withdrawals from his equity fund to give himself time to raise cash to pay back investors.

But Axel Springer is not the only company sniffing around the beleaguered hybrid agency.

As The Negotiator reported in May, a US equity fund called Francisco Partners was rumoured to be considering a takeover of Purplebricks.

Also, another UK fund, Toscafund Management, has been busy hoovering up Purplebricks shares as well in recent months most likely to cash in should there be a takeover bid for Purplebricks.




September 20, 2019

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