Both Purplebricks and OnTheMarket are keeping their powder dry on speculation that that hybrid agency is going to list on the challenger portal.
Industry speculation in recent weeks has suggested that an announcement may be made about the listing, pending the successful initial public offering of OnTheMarket on the London stock market.
Estate Agent Today has asked both organisations about the rumour, which has also featured in the trade press including agents’ comments left on EAT stories.
A Purplebricks spokeswoman said: “Purplebricks does not respond to speculation.” OnTheMarket has not responded.
The portal has until now banned online agencies - in 2014 OTM’s chief executive, Ian Springett, described them as “parasites” - but the portal will drop this ban, and its trademark one other portal only rule, when the IPO takes place.
Financial analysts yesterday told Estate Agent Today that Agents’ Mutual, the parent company of OnTheMarket, will want the launch on the stock market to take place only when the portal can show a substantial increase from the 2,700 estate and letting agency firms and their 5,700 branches previously listed.
Purplebricks listing on the site would boost its numbers and inventory considerably.
Meanwhile there has been a muted response to OnTheMarket’s announcement yesterday confirming, once again, that it was to launch.
Its statement - we covered it on Estate Agent Today here - left unanswered questions according to analyst William Packer of investment consultancy BNP Paribas Exane, mostly because of its “limited disclosure of information”.
Packer doubted the announcement would worry either Rightmove or ZPG.
“At ZPG, the portal is now a much smaller part of the wider business following recent mergers and acquisitions. Furthermore, although increased OTM marketing spend could bring inflationary marketing pressure, ZPG could win back agent customers following the planned dropping of the One Other Portal rule. At Rightmove, again inflationary marketing pressure could drag (although historically there has been little impact from peer spend) but on the other hand it could benefit if Zoopla and OTM renew hostilities” he told investors.
Analyst George Salmon at Hargreaves Lansdown described the float as a sensible strategy but warned investors: "The [Agents’ Mutual] group is now the UK’s third biggest portal, but all this really means is that it’s first among the also-rans. It’ll be hoped the listing, which should bring a £50m cash injection, can help it find another gear."