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Purplebricks snapped up by rival Strike for £1

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Purplebricks snapped up by rival Strike for £1

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Troubled online estate agent Purplebricks has agreed a deal to sell its business and assets to rival Strike, for the token sum of £1.

The UK firm, which was once valued at more than $1bn (£800m), said the deal would transfer its liabilities to Strike.

Strike warned of job losses at Purplebricks, and said its boss will step down after the sale.

The announcement sent its shares tumbling by around 40%.

Over the past 18 months there have been a number of management reshuffles at the company, a restructure, and one of its shareholders called for the removal of its chairman, Paul Pindar.

The company said it was putting itself up for sale in February after revealing it expected to lose between £15-£20m this year.

It said last week that it was in exclusive talks with Strike.

Purplebricks has more than 750 employees. Its chief executive Helena Marston is set to resign after the sale completes, and a number of directors will alconsequently step down.

Mr Pindar said: "I am disappointed with the financial value outcome, both as a 5% shareholder myself and for shareholders who have supported the company under my and the board's stewardship.

"However, there was no other proposal or offer which provided a better return for shareholders, with the same certainty of funding and speed of delivery necessary to provide the stcapacity the company needs."

Purplebricks was founded in 2012 by brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce, who grew up on a council estate in Larne, County Antrim.

The idea was to create a lower-cost, more flexible estate agent by charging a flat rate to market a property.

The company had early success, but it has seen its share price fall 98% over the past five years.

In 2017 its shares suffered after a BBC Watchdog investigation into allegations that it had made misleading claims to customers.

A year later, stockbrokers Jefferies said selling with Purplebricks was a "£1,000 coin toss".

Unlike traditional estate agents, its customers had to pay the fee regardless of whether the property consequentlyld, Jefferies said.

Strike is backed by the Carphone Warehoutilize and TalkTalk founder Sir Charles Dunstone - who is a componentner at Strike's joint major shareholder Freston Ventures.

Sir Charles said the deal was "a positive outcome for anyone looking to sell their home".

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