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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Purplebricks knocks on Canada’s door with £29.3m acquisition

The company is buying up DuProprio/ComFree in its first move into the Canadian market.

Purplebricks has confirmed its latest acquisition (Purplebricks/PA)
Purplebricks has confirmed its latest acquisition (Purplebricks/PA)

By Kalyeena Makortoff, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Purplebricks is expanding its North American footprint and making its first foray into the Canadian market through a £29.3 million deal.

The online estate agent confirmed it will take over DuProprio/ComFree (DPCF), which owns and operates a commission-free real estate service network with an online offering that Purplebricks said mirrors some of its own services.

The UK firm said it presents “attractive opportunities to quickly grow market share in Canada”, where it hopes to capitalise on an “extensive buy-side revenue opportunity” across the country.

DPCF’s real estate market share has built up to 20.2% in the province of Quebec.

It also recently launched in Ontario, where it now holds 2% of the market.

That is on top of a push into Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where it accounts for around 2.3% of the local real estate industry.

Purplebricks said it is planning to pump an extra £15 million into DPCF to fund its expansion across the country over the next two years, which will be funded through profits generated in Quebec and its own cash reserves.

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Michael Bruce is founder and chief executive of Purplebricks (Purplebricks/PA)

DPCF management, led by chief executive Marco Dodier, will stay on board after the acquisition is closed later this week.

The company, which was founded in 1997, employs around 400 people.

Michael Bruce, global chief executive of Purplebricks, said: “DPCF developed a strong presence in delivering a flat-fee, cost-effective, professional real estate service to the people of Canada, challenging the conventional agency market.

“Their model of bringing a range of service packages and support, with access to expertise from coaches to legal professionals, is proving highly attractive to the Canadian public, and has aspects in common with the Purplebricks model and ethos in the UK, Australia and the US.”

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Purplebricks first entered the US market last September (Purplebricks/PA)

Last month, the online estate agent confirmed it was launching in Las Vegas and Phoenix, nine months after first dipping its toe into US real estate.

Its start in Los Angeles last September was followed by roll-outs to San Diego, Sacramento, Fresno and New York.

Those moves have been funded though a strategic investment by German media publisher Axel Springer, which bought an 11.5% stake in the business in exchange for a £125 million investment.

It included a £100 million subscription of new shares to help turbo-charge Purplebricks’ US expansion.

Press Association

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