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Online 'merger' is really an acquisition by Emoov says TV Dragon James Caan

The so-called ‘merger’ of Emoov, Tepilo and a lettings firm is actually an acquisition by Emoov of the other two companies.

That's the claim from former TV Dragon’s Den star James Caan, who was one of the early investors in Emoov.

The official statement about the combining of the three companies, released by Emoov yesterday, was described by some trade and mainstream media as a merger, following the wording in a press release.


However Caan - an early investor in Emoov, who in 2014 described in a blog how beguiled he was by the company, which started life operating from the home of chief executive Russell Quirk - spilled the beans of it being an acquisition in a tweet late last evening.

It read: “I first invested in Emoov in 2013 as THE digital disrupter in estate agency. Am proud that it’s just DOUBLED in size and is now the clear number 2 player to Purplebricks upon its acquisition of Tepilo and Urban in a £100m-plus deal.”

The tweet, and its suggestion that the ‘merger’ was in fact an acquisition, was promptly retweeted by Emoov CEO Russell Quirk.

However, it appears that TV property expert and media star Sarah Beeny - who is the official face of Tepilo despite no longer being a director - is likely to remain by far the best known name associated with the new online agency operation revealed yesterday.

“I founded Tepilo in 2009 with the intention of putting the customer at the centre of their own property transactions. This deal creates a truly powerful partnership of property experts that are focussed upon doing right by the customer and improving the home buying, selling and rental process for all” says Beeny. 

“I’m truly delighted with the combination of the Emoov, Tepilo and Urban families to form such a valuable proposition” she adds - her statement did not use the word ‘merger’.

Beeny remains the figurehead for Tepilo today, despite having ceased being a director of it late last year: she remains identified on its website and For Sale signs, and it is understood that the Tepilo branding will remain, for the moment at least.

Tepilo was a private For Sale By Owner site in its early years until it became an online agency in its own right in late 2013, merging at the time with another agency, Think Property.

The new three-agency company announced yesterday will see long-standing online advocate Quirk serve as chief executive with the chief financial officer being Frank McGlade, formerly of Just Eat, and the marketing officer being Lucy Milne, also of Just Eat as well as EE. 

The merged entity says it has £15m in ‘new money’ including some from Northern & Shell, Tepilo’s largest shareholder. As we reported some weeks ago, there will also be Channel 4 investment from its Commercial Growth Fund. 

A statement from the new firm last evening said: “This commitment from Channel 4 adds to Tepilo’s existing relationships with Northern & Shell’s extensive advertising inventory via Sky, Channel 5, Express and Mirror newspapers.”

Poll: Will Emoov be a success now that it's taken over Tepilo and Urban?


  • Simon Shinerock

    There is a burning question sitting amidst all this change, it’s this ‘is the middle man worth their fee’? The answer is, ‘only if they’re any good’. I’ve always been amazed at the number of have a go heroes entering the business believing it’s easy, no pun intended. I was one myself thirty odd years ago and experience has taught me that building a quality estate agency business is anything but easy. My feeling is online agents are a side show, the main events are the ending of tenant fees, the loss of higher rate tax relief by individual landlords and regulation. Of course automation is coming and hopefully it will smooth out and simplify the buying and selling process. However, the best solution will, for the foreseeable futur, will be the local professional with a high st office. For the reasons mentioned there probably won’t be as many in five years, but their quality will improve and they will remain at the pinnacle of the business

  • icon

    Well said

  • icon

    As i have posted elsewhere.

    This is not so much a merger or acquisition its is three underperforming companies consolidating to minimise further loses.

    Correct me if i am wrong but none of them have posted profits. despite all the promises and money spent i have never seen an emoov board and only 1 tepilo board which went unsold until a traditional full service agent stepped in.

    As Simon says above automation certainly on the letting side with rent payments and statements are becoming much more slick but this has nothing to do with onliners.

    We just need the conveyancing world to take a long hard look in the mirror now.

    End of the day people buy people, and with an onliner / hybrid my experience is they are lazy journeymen or newbies with zero experience.


    You have a lot to say but your opinions are mostly uninformed and based on prehistoric opinion. Read a book or something then come back and say something interesting.

  • Sally Jones

    Well summarised Simon. I must add that I am tired of the constant hype that surrounds these online agents, giving them way too much attention and inevitably misleading clients.

  • icon

    Again well said

  • icon

    Keep doing your good work.
    Our aim as High Street Agents is to Maximise our clients profit.
    Not cheep fees
    Keep the Faith


    And how exactly are you maximising your clients profits?

  • icon

    How does taking a percentage of the sale price before costs maximise your clients profits? Still not sure why estate agents are the only 'professional' business model where its still accepted to take a % of the sale value rather than a set fee for the work conducted. Imagine if your bank, architect, accountant or solicitor charged in this way. I do remember a time when solicitors would quote dependent on the property value but those days are long gone.

    David Robinson

    I'm sure agents would love to charge for the work undertaken. All that abortive time paid for! But where's the incentive for the agent to keep working hard to achieve a sale? If a property isn't selling, then, as someone has previously pointed out here, the only tool available to an agent who isn't working on a % on sale basis, is to reduce the price.
    I think most solicitors take value into account when quoting their fees - their fee for selling a £5m house will be significantly higher than the amount they'd charge for selling a £200,000 property. Furthermore, if the sale falls through at the 11th hour, they'll send the client a bill for their time!


    Well said Andrew. Not sure why David Robinson bothers making comments if he still hasn't worked out what incentive the online/hybrid agents have to achieve a sale. He probably uses that line when selling his over-priced service and hasn't yet realised that the customer already knows the answer. Someone please tell him and let him. He needs to focus on his price reduction day on Thursday

  • icon

    I only take set fees.
    Its not my business to tell others what to do


    Fair play to you. I then fully agree with your view.


    That's great. Do you publish your fee?


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