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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Shares Frenzy: Investors jostle for Purplebricks and Foxtons

It's been another busy 24 hours for publicly-quoted estate agencies.

Swiss investment bank UBS has increased its stake in the troubled London estate and lettings agency Foxtons to over 10 per cent. 

A statement to the London Stock Exchange yesterday revealed that UBS had increased its stake from 8.37 per cent to 10.59 per cent. 

The agency - which late in 2018 revealed that it had closed six branches, including its landmark Park Lane office - has been the subject of media comment recently, with the prestigious Money Week telling investors to “steer clear” until there was some sign of a solid recovery in the Brexit-hit London property market.

Meanwhile there has been more shuffling of shares at Purplebricks.

As we reported late yesterday afternoon, beleaguered fund manager Neil Woodford - one of the first champions of Purplebricks - has reduced his stake in the troubled agency for the second time in 48 hours.

Woodford's stake is now just 21.51 per cent; on Wednesday morning it was 28.9 per cent.

In total, Woodford has recouped about £20m from the agency in his bid to get funds to help bail out his other ailing investments.

Toscafund - a hedge fund that has made a takeover bid for e-Prop, owner of easyProperty - yesterday increased its stake in Purplebricks, although this remains only 10.11 per cent in total.

Meanwhile the largest single investor in Purplebricks remains the digital arm of German publishing house Axel Springer, which owns titles as diverse as Rolling Stone and Insider Business; it has 26.6 per cent of Purplebricks shares now.

Additionally, yesterday the Merien Global investment fund increased its stake in Purplebricks by a small margin, from 13.22 per cent to 14.36 per cent.

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