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Written by Rosalind Renshaw

Connells has sold its 18% shareholding in Rightmove, it was announced to the stock market this morning.

The revelation came only 12 hours after Rightmove announced that it has renewed its agreement with Connells, the UK’s second largest estate agency group, for it to continue listing on the portal until 2012.

Connells, one of the original shareholders in Rightmove, had been at the centre of City rumours that it was trying to sell its shares. Halifax and Countrywide have already disposed of their holdings.

According to to the stock market announcement this morning, Connells has sold 21m shares in Rightmove. These, representing a 18% holding, have been placed at 155p.

The announcement comes at a time when many agents are threatening to stop listing their properties on the portal, although from last night’s announcement, it is clear that Connells will not be amongst these departures.

David Livesey, Connells group chief executive, said: “We have listed our customers’ properties on Rightmove from the start. Rightmove has become and will remain the leading UK property website.

“With its unparalleled reach, Rightmove is something house sellers expect from their agent. Rightmove is an essential element of our marketing. Signing up now for a long-term deal gives us certainty of cost, and this has a clear value to us.”

Rightmove’s managing director, Ed Williams, said: “In such a challenging housing market, Connells recognises the value that Rightmove brings.”

Rightmove, which has announced redundancies in its staff,  is to start its biggest-ever advertising campaign on television on Boxing Day.

Shares in Rightmove, which listed on the stock market in March 2006, have fallen from their high of 540p in February and this morning were 163p, down 21p. Had Connells sold when the shares were at 500p, they would have raised £105m. At 155p, the sum raised is in the region of £32.55m.

Comments

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    Why don’t you get all the agents in your vicinity to get together and agree to leave right move jointly, all join the same alternative portal, jointly advertise the fact in your area for a few months until its generally recognised by the public. Our greatest fear is people not coming on with you because your not on rightmove but if no one in your town is on right move its not a problem. We created this monster we can destroy it.

    • 13 December 2008 11:00 AM
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    When rats are deserting a sinking ship - the ship is sinking. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    • 13 December 2008 09:51 AM
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    £160 for rmove what about me we are £420. Total con we are leaving

    • 13 December 2008 02:11 AM
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    Sequence is in trouble.
    Loads of branches are closing in the Midlands and their remaining managers have been contacting us to go joint agency with our stock, because they are not listing enough themselves. They are under pressure to meet listing targets and the valuers are topping asking prices again to win instructions, but then can't sell them! Catch 22. 2009 will be a very interesting year.
    As for Rightmove, we really need a decent quality portal that will guarantee agents to be free forever (And declared in the small print) and will not allow the general public to use them without going through an agent. Advertising would fund the portal. If the ITV TV channels can do it, a portal should manage it with all the UK independents putting their property on this one site.
    Corporate’s including those that call themselves independents like Spicer/Haart should be banned from it.
    We should be encouraged to Paypal some in money each year to pay for some TV advertising to remind buyers where to go (Say £100 each) and we should also chip in a little to get this portal on Google at the top of page one. Safety in numbers and all that!

    • 13 December 2008 12:40 PM
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    mmmm interesting will connells/sequence be the next casualty of the estate agency downturn...

    • 12 December 2008 08:05 AM
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    Once again Estate Agent Today loses credability. Im becoming more and more dissapointed with the fact that this site is becoming gossip, slate & slag off website for peed off estate agents to to tell others how sorry they feel for themselves. Everyones complaining about RM but do you think Globrix is goin to be free forever? These Free portals are very very smart. stupid agents will blindly sign up to all the free ones and a couple of years down the line they will all start charging again. And if you guys get your way we will end up with a load of substandard portals all charging the same amount. RESULT: were all pissed because we will have no choice but to list on these panties websites.

    • 12 December 2008 05:37 AM
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    I recently managed to re-negotitate rates with primelocation, findaproperty and propertyfinder but Rightmove wouldnt budge an inch. As my situation has probably been repeated 100's of times to others its no surprise that there is such bad feeling towards Rightmove, they really couldnt give a stuff about us.

    • 12 December 2008 03:32 AM
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    sorry guys just worked it out if they had exchanged there shares for euro lottery tickets over 6 weeks they would have got a £53 million return, never mind hey

    • 12 December 2008 02:00 AM
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    and these are the corporate guys who are supposed to be the bees knees, losing £68 million, Bet who ever made that decision will be in sandy lane barbados for xmas, me think not, hysterical maybe they shouild apply for a job heading up one of the banks, they could have more money to lose

    • 12 December 2008 01:55 AM
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    Hi folks, very interesting article, thanks for posting - It seems fairly obvious from the comments that Rightmove has not made a lot of friends in the Estate Agency world, you could say a "love hate" relationship exists - Agents hate them, customers love them... Personally, I feel RM should have shown a lot more love to their paying customers, the agents, instead of forking out millions on brand awareness campaigns. Their cheapest and most successful marketing campaign ever was everytime a Valuer of an Estate Agency was sat in the Vendors Lounge, telling them about the biggest and best property website in the UK. This was happening whilst back at the office, the Estate Agent Owner was being stabbed in the back by another increase in their subscription fees! Bad Karma!

    • 12 December 2008 01:53 AM
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    Wonder who's bright idea it was not to sell in Feb at £105 million?! cost them £68 million!
    Happy days!

    • 12 December 2008 01:20 AM
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    Unwanted Rightmove merchandise spotted only yesterday in a charity shop in Blandford. Greetings by the way to all the Estate Agents I visited in Blandford & Shaftesbury yesterday. Thanks also to the agent who photo copied the plans for the property I am selling in Corfe Castle with my Estate Agents hat on! Another end of Era sale to compete with the Woolies sale down the road. Two cardboard boxes of Rightmove mugs. No price fixed but donations accepted. Mind you, the Rightmove golfing umbrellas were priced at £15 each. I suppose they could make a good present for Estate Agents for use on the golfing green on staff activities days! Would the agent in Blandford who accompanied me to the said charity shop and took a photo on his amazing SLR camera please stand up and share it!

    • 12 December 2008 12:50 PM
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    Globrix is th efuture, even though its crap !!

    • 12 December 2008 12:48 PM
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    Blimney!Reports of Countrywide in trouble and Now Connells selling their shares in Rightmove to raise cash I wonder how much longer the large corporates can last..........

    • 12 December 2008 12:39 PM
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    A mate of mine owns a Halifax PS franchise and he pays £160 per month to RM. Admittedly, they have been advertising on the site since day dot. We are a one office independent and we currently pay £360 per month! RM have the same mentality as our local newspaper, they wouldn't listen either and now they have lost 80% of their revenue from agents. Good luck to all agents out there who are trying to survive by doing a decent and proper job for their clients.

    • 12 December 2008 12:21 PM
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    Like rats deserting a sinking ship.....saying that I sold my RM shares the day before for £1.75 per share and actually made £70 overall (but I wont let it change my life).
    RM have stuck to their aggressive policy as they are in negotiations to sell out..hopefully this blow will scupper that deal and RM will come crawling back for our business...to little to late....RIP RM.

    • 12 December 2008 12:15 PM
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    may be is this the beginning of the end for RM, good riddons to them!!

    • 12 December 2008 12:11 PM
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    With big market moves, corporates such as Halifax and Connells have now taken funds out. My guess is that with funds out, you can do two things: 1; be in a strong cash situation for the coming year, or 2; be planning an exit. HPS closed offices this year and Connells are a big player. But I predict that maybe a corporate without spare or recently found funds could remove itself in the next 4 months should March/April not be good. Its time for independents to pull together, work together. Next year there will be less agents. Prices will be lower as we have a harsh 3-4 Winter months ahead. But those agents who keep their cool, raid the cash under the floorboards will have saleable units and opportunities as given up by those who have left. Work together and get those FTB's and non-homeowners pursueded. Sell an occupied house to a FTB and bring back chains. Many FTB's make many sales.

    • 12 December 2008 12:09 PM
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    We received a letter from rightmove yesterday saying that we could rejoin without having to pay a new joiner fee and benefit from their advertising campaign. No chance, smacks of desperation to me.
    We have told our vendors that we no longer belong to rightmove and we have not lost one single instruction because of it or any of the the new properties which we have just taken on. So I am pleased to say that David Liversey is wrong.

    • 12 December 2008 12:07 PM
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    Maybe any Rightmove agent subscribers should be asking: 1.How much the deal between RM and Connells was? 2.I bet its less pro rata than the small agents pay if a figure at all? 3.Their biggest shareholder going, sounds like a Dragons Den escape plan which can't portray confidence 4.Three years till 2012 agreement is safe for Connells, but will the corporates con the independents with Anothermove.dot.whatever
    5.Is this with Halifax a planned exit plan, Gosh how many £1,000's £1,000,000's have RM taken from the little guys
    6.RM announced overseas vendors could sell on RM without the agent. Wheres RM going
    7. Were any favourable terms given to Halifax PS when they sold out.
    Independents you need answers, your purses are low. But hows the fat cats doing, and what funds have the little guys got to battle the big guys next year. Its time for the independents to take the market back. Titanic, Woolworths, MFI. Vote with your feet.

    • 12 December 2008 11:59 AM
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    Classy trading from Connells. Sells their remaining stake in RM not for £6 as they could have done last summer but for £1.55 today – no doubt because they absolutely HAD to due to their deteriorating cash position. That they puked all that stock way down here speaks volumes about how they must be hurting. A bankruptcy or major restructuring for at least one of the ’big 3’ looks more and more likely to me before the end of 2009. Question is, was the stock sold to one investor or sprayed around the City to hopeful short-term punters? If the latter then the stock is going to be under some pressure for some time to come.

    • 12 December 2008 11:53 AM
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    As Status Quo Would Say, DOWN DOWN DEEPER AND DOWN

    • 12 December 2008 11:37 AM
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    Probably getting their property listed for free as this would have marked the end for rightmove if they had have left.

    • 12 December 2008 11:28 AM
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