A tech magazine has raised speculation, circulating in the industry for some months, that some online agencies have considered joining forces to try to compete with the growing dominance of Purplebricks.
An article in TechCrunch says there has been “lots of noise over the last year” that companies had been in “various, albeit tentative and perhaps informal, acquisition or merger talks.”
The article specifically says: “One tip TechCrunch received in December is that eMoov and Tepilo held discussions, although I haven’t been able to confirm how serious they were or if they took place at all.”
The piece goes on to say that eMoov founder and chief executive Russell Quirk did not deny that at some stage he talked with competitors.
In December last year Tepilo, Sarah Beeny’s online estate agency, opened a new headquarters in central London and boosted its staff to 60 after announcing it had doubled its turnover in the previous year.
Earlier this month eMoov announced it had raised £9m in its latest funding round with the money allocated to marketing and technology investment.
Just under a year ago Quirk claimed that Countrywide’s former senior management rejected an invitation to buy 10 per cent of eMoov for £100,000 around 2011. He cited Bob Scarff, then managing director of Countrywide, as being offered the opportunity.
Shortly afterwards Scarff rejected the suggestion, saying that at that time the then-Countrywide management was considering online potential. “We met Russell to see whether he had thought of anything that we didn't already have in our plan. He hadn't. We certainly didn't call the meeting because we wanted to invest in his business.”
You can read the TechCrunch article in full here.