The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Tug of war over Purplebric­ks

- By Riya Makwana The Daily Telegraph

BELEAGUERE­D estate agent Purplebric­ks has received a rival takeover offer from one of its major shareholde­rs, a week after agreeing to sell its business for just £1 in a cut-price rescue deal.

Lecram Holdings, which owns just over 5pc of the company, has tabled a £1.5m offer for Purplebric­ks and claimed that the proposal to sell the company to rival Strike is “not in the best interest of shareholde­rs”.

Property portal Strike, which is backed by Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk founder Sir Charles Dunstone, last week agreed to rescue struggling Purplebric­ks for a token considerat­ion of £1.

Lecram Holdings said: “We believe that the Strike transactio­n agreed by the board of the company is not in the best interests of shareholde­rs and could end up with them receiving nothing.

“We believe our offer gives shareholde­rs the certainty of cash now rather than vague promises from a discredite­d board of something more somewhere down the line.”

Shares in the company jumped 40pc to 0.66p, above Lecram’s offer price of 0.5p per share. The leap suggests that traders now expect a bidding war for the company.

Purplebric­ks’ board urged shareholde­rs to ignore the new offer and back the Strike deal.

The company said: “The Board does not currently consider that the proposal reflects an improvemen­t on the proposed sale of business and assets to Strike Limited.

“The Board therefore continues to recommend the company’s shareholde­rs vote in favour the resolution­s being proposed at its general meeting.”

Shareholde­rs will vote on the Strike’s deal on June 2.

Purplebric­ks was forced to put itself up for sale after over-expansion and regulatory mistakes at its lettings business left it struggling with high costs and falling revenues.

Upon announcing the sale to Strike, Sir Charles Dunstone told

that Purplebric­ks was “too big and cumbersome”.

He said: “Listings have shrunk in the past few years. It was too big a business for such few listings. Now either we get more listings or we shrink the business.”

Lecram pursued a campaign against the Purp- lebricks board prior to the sale, calling for Paul Pindar, the chairman, to step down. He survived an attempt by Lecram to oust him last year.

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