Toscafund has reaffirmed its confidence in online estate agents by acquiring over 3m shares in Purplebricks, to give it a stake of 5.64%.
The hedge fund is now the eighth largest shareholder in Purplebricks, whose share price has dropped since the announcement on May 7 that it is pulling out of Australia, is reviewing its US operation and that co-founder and CEO Michael Bruce has left.
Toscafund Asset Management made the announcement to the London Stock Exchange, reporting that the threshold was reached a week ago, on May 10. It now has 303,090,347 shares with voting rights.
Any holding before May 10 is unknown. Purplebricks’ main stakeholder is Woodford Investment Management.
Toscafund already backs both easyProperty and HouseSimple.
A long-term investor in easyProperty, it put £14m into the business in 2015. In 2017, it backed easyProperty’s reverse takeover by GPEA – owner of the Guild and Fine & Country. The move, which installed Jon Cooke as CEO of Eprop Services, was reported at the time to be worth £60m.
Toscafund Asset Management director Matthew Siebert has recently been appointed a director at Eprop Services.
Toscafund has also participated in funding rounds of £13m and £20m respectively for HouseSimple, heavily backed by Carphone Warehouse founder Sir Charles Dunstone and his business partner Roger Taylor.
Both Toscafund and Dunstone have registered charges against HouseSimple.
Purplebricks’ shares closed yesterday at around 108p.