Purplebricks sets sights on European acquisition plan

Online estate agency Purplebricks has confirmed it is eyeing German and European firms for acquisition as it continues to expand its overseas footprint.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 7:00 am
Michael and Kenny Bruce are the Ulster-born founders of Purplebricks

Chief executive Michael Bruce, who founded the firm with his brother Kenny in 2012, told the Press Association the group is hoping to replicate the success of a recent deal in Canada, which has propelled it into that market.

It has Germany and Europe in its sights following a £125 million investment boost from German publishing giant Axel Springer when it took an 11.5% stake in Purplebricks in March.

But Mr Bruce said the group is not planning to launch into a new market from scratch for the time being while it concentrates on bedding in existing operations across the UK, Australia and north America.

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It also wants to grow its market share in the UK to more than 10%, from what it estimates is around 6% or 7% now.

Mr Bruce said: “We’d be more interested at this stage in an acquisition than putting some troops on the ground.”

He said the group was taking its time and waiting for the right opportunity in Europe, rather than rushing into any deals.

“We’re not directly touting, but it’s clear that people know us and the brand and what we’re trying to achieve,” he said.

“We know who’s doing OK in these markets and we’re observing them,” he added.

He said Axel - owner of German tabloid Bild - has already been highly supportive of Purplebricks and its strategy.

Axel’s classified advertising chief Andreas Wiele has joined the Purplebricks’ board as a non-executive director and the group regularly meets with Mr Bruce and his team.