Purplebricks to focus on UK after £35m disposal
Posted on July 16, 2020 by Jonathan Symcox
Purplebricks has sold its Canadian business for £35m.
The online estate agency said it plans to focus on its core UK market following the disposal of its Canadian business, which includes the DuProprio and Purplebricks Canada operations, to the Desjardins Group, a Canadian cooperative financial group.
The Candian arm of the business had an adjusted operating loss of £2.8m for the 10 months ended 30th April 2019 and the book value of its gross assets as at 31st October 2019 was £11.4m.
A year ago Purplebricks hit the headlines as it closed its struggling US operation. That followed a string of setbacks, including the departure of founder and chief executive Michael Bruce, a plummeting share price and disastrous foray into Australia.
In the 12 months since, its share price has halved from 98p to 48p as of last Friday. However it has rebounded in recent days and now stands at 59p with a market cap of £183m.
Following receipt of proceeds, the group will hold a net cash balance of £66m which it said will allow it to “invest in its UK business”.
“The disposal of PBDP simplifies the group’s operations and fits with its strategy of focusing on its core market in the UK, where there is substantial opportunity to grow its market-leading hybrid model,” it added.
Purplebricks will grant PBDP a licence to continue to use the Purplebricks brand in Canada for a transitional period until December 2021.
Purplebricks CEO Vic Darvey said: “Over the last 14 months, Purplebricks has reset its strategy to give the company a strong foundation for the next phase of its growth.
“The company’s hybrid, digitally enabled model is more relevant than ever and this simplification of the business will allow management to focus its time and the company’s resources on delivering growth in the core UK market.
“The board wishes the teams at DuProprio and Purplebricks Canada the very best in their new venture – and I would like to thank them personally for the collaboration and mutual sharing of knowledge and expertise over the last couple of years.”