The troubled online estate agent Purplebricks has revealed a sale of the business to rival Strike, for the token sum of just £1.
Purplebricks Group, which put itself up for sale in February after a series of profit warnings, said it had entered a conditional agreement to transfer its business to Strike that would include the assumption of its liabilities.
Purplebricks said the proposed sale would be expected to deliver a small return to shareholders though, in practice, they would be all but wiped out.
Shares, which have plunged in recent times to value the company at around £4m, were down 46% on the news at 0.8p
They had stood above 500p a share at their 2017 peak.
The company, founded by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce in 2012, rose to prominence through its fixed fee approach to property sales.
Strike is best known as an agency that claims to be able to sell a property for free.
Purplebricks had a turbulent 2022 as it struggled with a new operating model, had at least three major management reshuffles and one of its top 10 shareholders – Lecram Holdings – called for the removal of Paul Pindar as chairman.
Read more business news:
Qatari sheikh increases bid to buy Manchester United from the Glazers
MPs attack Bitcoin – and say crypto trading must be treated like gambling
In February, the firm said its board had recognised that the potential of the group may be better realised under an “alternative ownership structure” and had decided to conduct a strategic review.
The sale announcement was made a week after Purplebricks said it was negotiating a possible deal with Strike, which at the time, had said it did not intend to make an offer.
Commenting on the company’s demise Rhys Schofield, managing director at Peak Mortgages & Protection, said: “When they launched and were the new kid on the block they genuinely caused huge disruption with their low fee model, unburdened of the costs of an expensive high street office.
“Gradually however, the novelty wore off, new players came in and estate agents no longer feared going up against them as they got better at explaining that the cheapest agent isn’t really the one charging the lowest fee if they’re going to sell your house for thousands less.
“To compound the issue, the business has seen a huge talent drain as their best staff have seemingly left en masse to go and work under other self-employed models as it’s much more lucrative and rewarding.”