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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

easyProperty "may be worth £1 billion by 2018" says chief executive

In the week that Purplebricks floats on the stock market, rival agency easyProperty says it will not list for two years - but by that time it may be worth over £1 billion.

The valuation claim has come from easyProperty chief executive Rob Ellice in an interview with news agency Reuters. 

Ellice says putting a flotation on the back burner has come about as a result of securing financial backing from hedge fund Toscafund. 

easyProperty raised £25m in its latest funding round last week - that’s five times the target which it sought - and Toscafund alone appears to have put in £14m. The placing could have been oversubscribed 10 times over with one US-based investor wanting to put in £25m and interest expressed from investors in Monaco and the United Arab Emirates.

"With Tosca on board, and they're very keen to back us in a large way, there is really no need to rush to market. So, I think we will now delay our outlook to list, just because we don't need to" Reuters has been told by Ellice, who is the company's largest shareholder.

"We're not up for sale at the moment. We are acquisitive and aggressive at the moment," says Ellice, adding that easyProperty is open to the possibility of buying existing agencies that operate in some of its target markets, such as student accommodation.

Meanwhile the most successful of the new wave of online agencies, Purplebricks, floats on Thursday.

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Haha! Excellent stuff. That's given me a nice big laugh first thing on a Monday morning.

    Oh wait, they're not joking. Please tell me this is satire on Ellice's part. Please.

  • Fake Agent

    Deluded is the word that springs to mind. And that's me being kind.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    AS 'Chief Executve' of my company, I am proud to announce that by 2020 our company may be worth £1 Trillion, in ligt of this, Easyproperty really is under-performing ;-) Seriously? Why are claims like this even getting reported?

    Fake Agent

    It is a ridiculous claim, Kristjan. But if Ellice is going to make such claims, it should be reported so he is made to look very silly when it very much doesn't come to fruition.

    I still haven't got an answer to the question I asked last week. Have easyProperty actually sold or let any properties? You know, the bread and butter, the day to day. They do purport to be an agency, don't they?

    Still don't know of anyone who has used their services. Obviously, I don't know that many people, but a simple look at their website seems to show a worrying lack of activity. Maybe I could be proven wrong?

     
  • Gary Rosenthal

    ...and we will be selling homes on the moon!

    Daniel Roder

    You jest. But I think there is more chance of that happening than easyProperty being valued at £1 billion. Where does Ellice pluck these numbers from? Who is advising him? It just makes him come across like a bit of a wally, to put it politely.

     
  • Richard White

    Other things as likely to happen by 2018

    - Alan Sugar has an attack of humility and stops insisting on being called Emperor Sugar (or whatever it is this week)
    - The Labour party become electable
    - The Conservatives actually become Consevative
    - Simon Cowell stops wearing Cuban heels and jean pulled up to his armpits
    - Liberals stop complaining about the housing crisis whilst simultaneously campaigning for more immigration
    - I end up looking like George Clooney

    Jon  Tarrey

    This government isn't Conservative enough? Really? Incompetent, yes. Out of their depth, yes. Out of touch, yes. Poor-bashing, yes. But it's one of the most Conservative, right-wing governments we've had in years. They're determined to shrink the state and sell off absolutely everything, while making the rich richer.

    Anyway, political rant over. I agree with you about Alan Sugar, Cowell and Clooney, by the way :)

     
    Richard White

    They aren't remotely Conservative, Jon.

    They are engaging in wealth redistribution via duplicitous means (see BTL & pension tax assaults), mass uncontrolled immigration and borrowing at a level that cannot ever be repaid.

    These things are utterly opposed to any true Conservative philosophy. Everything they are engaging in is smoke and mirrors BS to appease people who are unable to think for themselves.

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    OK so this might be interesting for some people. A quick look on their rightmove 'microsites' reveals 174 Sales lstings of which 30 are U/O and 241 resi lettings of which 37 are L/UO. Even if we base this on their mid-range fee option, this accounts for £11,849.97 of lettings revenue (even if they opt for the top package this equates to just £55,229.17) and if we apply the upfront fee to unsold listings (£395.83) this equates to £68,875 and then if we apply the higher fee (middle one) to the sold units (lets give them the benefit of the doubt so £687.50) this equates to £20,625.
    Therefore, across all residential business as seen on their site, they have (at best) accumulated a whopping £144,729.17- and thats their gross turnover. But yeah, sure, in 3 years I can easily see the £1Bn mark valuation beckoning. Not to mention what an amazing ROI the EP investors are going to get- especially the ones who bought in though Crowdfunding and paid a premium for a tiny share in the business.
    What worries me at the moment is that the online agents like PB and EP are making outlandish and utterly unfounded claims on valuatons and are fooling investors in to parting with cash on the wave of hype. In the very near future, these companies will be unable to sustain these claims and will have to asnwer to these investors as the figures dont just fall short but are embarassingly, almost fraudulently, short and we will create a new wave of people who despise agents- once again lumping us all in to the same basket.
    I fully support the value of online agents and the role they play in the future of our sector but I am not willing to have our industry heaped in more mire just to line the pockets of a few who know exactly what they are doing!
    I would actually like to see some proper investigative journalism go on here rather than just recycling PR announcements- even if they are spending alot with you guys on advertising.

    Daniel Roder

    Interesting. Thanks for taking the time to look this up.

    Can't say I'm surprised at all. It's all bravado and bluster from easyProperty, isn't it? Shout plenty, make lots of noise. But actual results? Actual profit? No, they don't need to worry about that because of all the investors with mountains of cash that they have on board.

    It's fine for easyJet to be a bit brash and full-on, they can back it up with actual success. easyProperty don't have such luxuries.

     
  • Rob  Davies

    What has Rob Ellice been smoking? Ludicrous suggestion.

    Surely he knows it's a ludicrous suggestion? Or, more worryingly, maybe he doesn't.

    He's trying to put a brave face on all this, but I agree with Daniel above. It's all bravado and bluster. Distraction techniques being used to steer people away from what looks like a sinking ship.

    Thing is, they could be really successful if they actually put their minds to selling and letting homes rather than simply being a PR hype machine. They've got tonnes of investment and backing, but they don't seem to actually be having any success with the nitty-gritty of buying and selling homes. A bit sad, really.

  • icon

    Investors like this will have done a tonne of due diligence. They will know the turnover, the margins, but they are investing for the big picture. 1.1m property sales in the UK. If the market consolidates down to 4 big players which I think it could over the next 20 years that is a sizeable business. They can then take this into commercial, student accommodation, flat shares and then to other countries ad infinitum.

  • icon

    Rather than laughing I would be seriously thinking about how I will compete, raising my game, adding value.

  • icon

    a 25m investment if you have deep enough pockets is small change compared to the potential prize at stake. It is clear these guys are backed by smart wealthy investors who will demand that they see a good return and grow quickly.

    I think online will double each year from now on and represent 50% of the market in 5 years. If you were not in the industry and you were selling your home would you spend £3k+vat selling your average UK house or £650 + vat?

    Online agents are just another form of discounters. Foxtons in London still command 2.5% when there are cheaper alternatives for 1%. Now there is the online alternative, so agents will not only have to sell the added value, but walk the talk. In the end traditional agents will only survive if they present unquestionable proof that they can realise a higher price for the vendors. Otherwise they will die.

    icon

    Thanks for the insight, Tom...have you invested in easyProperty then?

     
    icon

    No, I have not invested in easy property and sorry I did not mean to preach or teach granny to suck eggs, but I do see the online agents as a serious long term threat and I think a lot of the high street agents who have historically cut prices to 1% to win business will get squeezed out.

    My bet is that what will remain 20 years from now are the nationwide online low fee agent (purple bricks and the like) and high performing local agents who have a track record of selling for a premium.

    Agree that valuations based on current earnings are ridiculous but the valuations are being generated on likely future growth. The model is very scalable and that is what they are buying into. These people are not in the main retail investors piling blindly in to the next hot investment (although saw some of that with recent crowd funding), but in the main they are seasoned professional investors and are far from stupid.

     
    icon

    Just a thought. I know that emoov had around 10% net margin when they ran the business on a self financing basis in 2011.

    As they grow they will invest in tech and their advertising will become more affective as their brand becomes better known and people are more willing to accept a new way to sell houses.

    I think they will get underlying net margins up to 20% over time.

    If in 10 years they control 10% of UK market with average revenue of say £800 (their prices will increase over time as they build brand trust, then lets say they sell 100,000 properties per year x £800 = £80,000,000x 20% margin = £16,000,000

    Then p/e ratio of say 12 once listed and you get a valuation of £192m off the back of UK sales alone. You then move into rentals, commercial, student, flatshares, holiday lets, and then replicate internationally and the potential valuations is basically think of a number.

    It is this kind of thinking that is the basis for current valuations.

     
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