£35m deal closes door on Purplebricks’ international ambitions

Online estate agent Purplebricks has sold its Canadian business for £35m, ending its unsuccessful attempts at international expansion.

It exited its Australian and American operations during a turbulent 2019 which also saw the departure of its founder Michael Bruce.

However last July its chief executive Vic Darvey said it was “very important that we now focus our resources on the UK and Canada”.

But 12 months later the Solihull-headquartered group has agreed the sale of its Canadian business to cooperative financial group Desjardins.

The disposal of its DuProprio and Purplebricks Canada operations (PBDP) means it is now entirely UK-focused.

Purplebricks said the deal “simplifies the group’s operations” and fits with its strategy of focusing on its core market in the UK, where it says there is “substantial opportunity to grow its market-leading hybrid model”.

The $60.5m Canadian Dollars (£35m) cash sale will boost Purplebricks’ net cash balance to £66m, which the company said will be used to further strengthen the group’s financial position and invest in its UK business.

“Over the last 14 months, Purplebricks has reset its strategy to give the company a strong foundation for the next phase of its growth,” said Darvey.

“The company’s hybrid, digitally enabled model is more relevant than ever and this simplification of the business will allow management to focus its time and the company’s resources on delivering growth in the core UK market.”

The group has been through a restructuring plan since incurring losses of £56m, a process which led to the exit of its co-founder and former chief executive Michael Bruce.