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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks shares hit new low as activist investor increases stake

Purplebricks’ share price hit a record low during trading yesterday after an activist investor upped its stake and called for the online agent’s chairman to resign.

Adam Smith has been building up his holding in Purplebricks to 5%, the point at which he could call a general meeting on urgent matters affecting the business.

A stockmarket update yesterday showed Smith and his investment vehicle Lecram Holdings have increased their stake to 4.18%.

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Smith has also written to Purplebricks chairman Paul Pindar to urge him to resign amid the company’s tumbling share price and cash burn, claiming action is need to “restore the credibly of the company with investors.”

The letter called for Pindar to be replaced by someone with “necessary experience and skills to address urgently the company’s continuing cash burn and operating performance with thin residential estate agency sector.”

Purplebricks’ share price has declined by 85% since it went public in 2015.

The share price fell to a low of 13.82p during trading yesterday but closed at 15.06p, up 1.76% compared with Friday.

It comes as the online agency brand issued a trading update in May where it warned that losses may reach almost £9m.

Purplebricks said that it has seen a continuation of lower volumes of new instructions coming to market since announcing its interim results in January.

The company’s accounts have already been delayed until the first week of August so its auditor can assess new controls introduced after compliance issues were revealed in its lettings operations. 

A Purplebricks spokesperson told The Times: “We sought to meet with Lecram Holdings to discuss their concerns. They declined.

"It's disappointing that they chose to go the media instead rather than engage with us.”

New chief executive Helena Marston, who announced fee increases last week, is set to reveal further strategic changes once Purplebricks’ annual results are released in August.

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