Criticism of the management of Countrywide has reached new levels of derision as the mainstream media have attacked the chaos surrounding the agency group.
The Times’ business commentator Alistair Osborne referred to the company as a “knackered estate agency group” which was being fought over by “two former bookies.”
Those are former executive chairman Peter Long and new interim chief executive Philip Bowcock, both with previous business involvement in betting organisations.
Osborne says Long - who left Countrywide with immediate effect this week - went “out in a huff after losing the support of the board and the shareholders” after having a “wacko plan to keep the roof on.”
The Daily Telegraph’s chief City commentator Ben Marlow is no kinder.
In an article headlined ‘Countrywide struggles to stop the roof from falling in’ he says: “A departing chairman and three possible rescue plans on the table add to a sense of chaos that has existed for years.”
He goes on to say: “It isn’t quite a House of Horrors yet but give it time. House of Pain then? Well there’s been plenty of that over at Countrywide. Just don’t jump around or the walls might fall in.”
The Financial Times has been more polite, referring to the company as “struggling” having suffered a “years-long decline.”
Twitter has perhaps predictably been more blunt.
Buying agent and market commentator Henry Pryor posted regarding the clear out of both Peter Long and Countrywide’s group managing director Paul Creffield.
He wrote: “About time too! It’s difficult to exaggerate just how useless the outgoing management of this company has been in recent years and how blind the shareholders have been to the destruction of their business. Good riddance!”
At the end of a torrid week for the agency the latest state of play remains a live offer from Connells of some £80m - to buy shares at 250p cash - while Countrywide’s shareholders have rejected an earlier offer of £90m investment by private equity firm Alchemy, which would have effectively given it control of the company.
Countrywide’s share price - which has fallen some 98 per cent in five years - closed yesterday down another 0.54 per cent..