Purplebricks has appointed a joint corporate broker, suggesting that it is preparing for possible takeover action – or that it could go to the market to raise more money.
It has appointed Citigroup Global Markets as a joint broker with Peel Hunt, which continues in its current role.
The appointment comes as embattled fund manager Neil Woodford reduced his holding in Purplebricks yet again, taking it down to 19.25%. Until last week Woodford was the largest stakeholder, with almost 30% of the company.
The latest reduction, from 21.51% to 19.25%, was notified to the London stock exchange late on Friday afternoon.
The jostling for position by a number of Purplebricks stakeholders has meanwhile continued with Merian Global Investors – formerly Old Mutual – upping its stake from 14.36% to 16.6%.
Axel Springer’s holding remains at 26.6% after purchasing the Bruce brothers’ shares, making it the largest stakeholder, ahead of Woodford.
Michael and Kenny Bruce, who founded the company, now no longer have any holding, although Kenny remains with Purplebricks as sales director after global CEO Michael’s departure in the wake of a boardroom coup.
Merian and Toscafund, with 10.11%, last week both increased their holdings.
A 30% holding – to which Axel Springer is the nearest – would trigger a mandatory takeover bid.
Despite all last week’s machinations, the share price has been remarkably consistent, ending Friday 1.1% up at about 109p.
Meanwhile, Countrywide’s sudden spurt in share price growth came to something of an end at close of play on Friday, with the shares ending 4% down at 3.6p.