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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks marketing chief off-loads almost 250,000 shares in agency

The chief marketing officer of Purplebricks, Joby Russell - who in the recent past has described the hybrid as “the UK’s most remarkable estate agency and one of the country’s fastest-growing businesses” - has sold almost 250,000 shares in the firm.

According to one report, the sale of shares which had been owned for just 10 days produced a profit in excess of £300,000.

Estate Agent Today understands Russell is believed to still have a substantial interest in the business, even after the sale.

A formal notification to the London Stock Exchange reads: “Purplebricks Group plc, the hybrid estate agent providing a new way to buy, sell or let property, has been notified that on July 22 2016, Joby Russell, Chief Marketing Officer, who is considered to be a personal discharging managerial responsibilities, sold 243,618 ordinary shares of 1 pence each (Ordinary Shares) at a price of 140.00 pence per Ordinary Share.”

Russell was appointed director of the agency in late 2014, at the same time as he was marketing director at Confused.com.

At the time Russell told a marketing trade publication: “The estate agency model is no longer relevant to modern consumers and is in desperate need of a shakeup. The days of browsing estate agents' windows are long gone and there is no longer a need for consumers to pay staggering commissions to agents.”

Purplebricks launched in April 2014 and staged its Initial Public Offering - its flotation on the stock market - in late 2015. 

In a very buoyant report to the City some six weeks ago, Purplebricks claimed it had sold £2.8 billion worth of property in the year to April 30 with another £1.7 billion sold subject to contract. Revenues had soared 448 per cent in a year.

The agency claimed a 77 per cent conversion rate, which it said was possibly “industry leading” - it ended its year with 2,827 instructions in April. 

However, in recent weeks it has received a series of critical reports - some concerned the apparent lack of membership of redress organisations by individual Local Property Experts associated with the agency, while others have reported comments from City consultancy Jefferies, which has criticised some of the figures cited by Purplebricks in recent statements. 

Yesterday evening Jefferies commented on the Russell sale of shares: “We were surprised that Mr Russell ... sold 243,618 shares at 140p, having only exercised the options on those shares on 12 July 2016 and a price of 12.93p. His holding period of 10 days is therefore four days fewer than the average time (of 14 days) it takes Purplebricks to find a buyer for its customers' homes.”

  • Glenn Ackroyd

    "His holding period of 10 days is therefore four days fewer than the average time (of 14 days) it takes Purplebricks to find a buyer for its customers' homes." - Ouch!

    Terence Dicks

    Allegedly.

     
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    Poor chap - you've got to find a way to pay for your holiday...

  • Don Holmes

    The writing is on the wall, written by their own directors!

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    Watch and wait. Give it a few more days and I believe this story will grow

  • Rob  Davies

    Doesn't look good, does it? Just goes to show that appearances really can be deceiving. I've always thought that Purplebricks have overreached themselves, gone too big too soon. A more gradual, slowly does it approach would have worked better. You can't deny the success of their brand recognition, but that only gets you so far if the service you actually offer doesn't match up.

    I see plenty of big claims from Purplebricks, but not a great deal of evidence to back these up with.

  • Andrew Ireland

    Apologies to Shakespeare but he who wields the knife rarely wears the crown. I think the Savills effort Yoga or Yoda whatever its called is the one to be scared of. They should know what they're doing anyway perhaps more than a former director of 'Confused'. com

  • Jon  Tarrey

    Maybe Sir Philip Green or Mike Ashley could swoop in to save the day, ploughing in investment and making PB as successful as BHS and Sports Direct. What could possibly go wrong!?

  • Jon  Tarrey

    What to make of all this, though? Is Joby Russell - I don't think I've ever heard that name before! - getting out early because he knows something we don't or is there some other reason for this sudden pull out?

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    Rats deserting sinking ship, comes to mind.

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    Although he is entitled to do this it is frowned upon and not really accepted.

    Maybe he has caught wind of something that is brewing ......

    Fake Agent

    My thoughts exactly.

     
  • Kristjan Byfield

    Usually any floating company blocks any sale of shares by key members for a considerable amount of time (often 1 year+) to ensure a stable ship and to maintain public perception. Yet somehow, afer acheiving insane share price value despite 2 years of substantial losses, this is apparently ok at PB. If I had invested I would be very, very worried right now- I'm not saying there is anything to necessarily worry about, but this behaviour by senior execs would terrify me if I had invested.

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    If "the days of browsing in estate agents windows are over " then why do people browse in our window almost all day every day? And an awful lot of browsers then come in to talk to us. But heck we must be an old fashioned estate agent as locals buy us drinks at the pub, invite us to parties, bring in home made cake, jams, veg and flowers. Some invite us on to local committees and councils, ask us to judge competitions, give us tickets to local events & shows, come in to use the photo copier (for which our favourite payment from one chap is the occasional freshly caught trout), seek advice on planning & tradesmen. If the postie is tired & overloaded he or she leaves postbags and parcels with us. Some people even buy & sell houses through us. And no, we don't have a sofa or a coffee machine either.

  • Fake Agent

    "But heck we must be an old fashioned estate agent as locals buy us drinks at the pub, invite us to parties, bring in home made cake, jams, veg and flowers. Some invite us on to local committees and councils, ask us to judge competitions, give us tickets to local events & shows"

    Can I come and work where you work?

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    Yup! I never experienced this when I worked for a corporate agency at the next village along, but as a family run independent we are welcomed in the community about as much as we could expect to be, do our best to minimise staff turnover and to answer industry related questions even where we cannot see an immediate financial return. Longer term I think this pays off anyway and short term there is a certain 'feel good' factor.
    The downside of this sort of life is money. We do not have the turnover of property that larger catchment areas have and yet more & more customers seem to expect a fee % that can only work if you 'stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap'. But we manage and get plenty of repeat business and referals

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