Time appears to be running short for the sale of troubled online agency Emoov.
An Emoov insider has told Estate Agent Today that “time is of the essence” in terms of existing funding and the sale deal.
The agency has been known to be hunting for possible buyers since late October when it was revealed that investment which had been anticipated after the spring merger with Tepilo and online platform Urban apparently failed to materialise.
The source told EAT that “around 10 parties are now in discussion” with Emoov - some interested in a possible outright purchase, others considering investment - and that five areas have emerged as possible drivers for purchasers:
- The technology platform used by Emoov: this appears more advanced than that used by other online firms. The bespoke platform, called HERO, permits individual vendors to access and edit a listing, edit photographs and schedule viewing times;
- Brand awareness of Emoov: In addition to frequent media appearances by Emoov founder Russell Quirk, the agency has this year spent substantial sums on its Emoovment advertising campaign and has won 2018 Best Online Agent and 2018 Best Marketing Campaign awards at the Property Wire and UK PropTech awards respectively;
- Existing stock and associated data: Emoov claims across its three merged brands (Emoov, Tepilo and lettings platform Urban) that it takes on around 850 new properties per month, while Urban has a substantial landlord database;
- SEO rankings for both Emoov and Tepilo brands;
- Media for Equity deal with Channel 4: formally known as Channel 4's Commercial Growth Fund, this provides free airtime on the broadcaster in return for equity stakes in technology start-ups, and this is believed to have been a part of the deal this spring when Emoov merged with Tepilo and Urban. EAT’s source at Emoov believes some £2.5m of this fund remains unspent.
EAT understands that valuations so far have been - in the words of our source - “incredibly attractive” for the potential buyers and investors, and well below the high figures cited in previous deals for online agencies.
Another source inside the agency, with whom EAT spoke three weeks ago, said at the time that the sum which Emoov expected to settle for would be well below the £100m widely believed to be the figure spent on the merger some months ago.
The most stark piece of information, however, was that our latest source believed time was now of the essence in terms of Emoov’s existing funding and that “a deal needs to be done in the coming days - and the price for the business will reflect that.”