Online estate agency Purplebricks is reported to be preparing a stock market listing valuing it at close to £250m.
The company is said by Sky News (a favourite source of leaked information about Purplebricks) to have informed shareholders in recent days that it wants to float - possibly as soon as early next month - and it has appointed Zeus Capital, an investment bank, to manage the process.
Early this year the so-called ‘star’ fund manager Neil Woodford increased his stake in Purplebricks to more than 25 per cent - but even at that point the company was valued at around £100m, far short of the current estimation.
Sky says the company is thought by some to be the fourth-largest estate agency in the UK with a 60 per cent market share of new online instructions.
The news outlet says: “A person close to Purplebricks said the rapid expansion was partly the result of its 'hybrid' model, which is based on local property experts who manage the entire sale process.”
Today's development represents a speeding up of the float timetable, which had previously expected an initial public offering next spring.
Purplebricks was founded by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce. Other investors attracted to the firm include former Capita chief executive Paul Pindar, who made a ‘significant’ investment a month before its launch and the former boss of payday lender Wonga, Errol Damelin.