Purplebricks investor demands chair be replaced by Rightmove’s Harry Hill

Purplebricks set for shareholder showdown as group faces plot to oust chairman and replace him with Rightmove founder Harry Hill

  • Lecram Holdings has requisitioned a meeting after building a 5% stake
  • It has previously called for Paul Pindar’s exit on ‘unsatisfactory performance’

Chairman of Purplebricks Paul Pindar could soon be ousted after an activist investor calling for his removal reached a significant equity stake milestone.

Lecram Holdings, an investment vehicle for investor Adam Smith, has grown its stake in the online estate agent to 5.16 per cent, thereby allowing it to call an extraordinary general meeting in order to propose Pindar’s replacement as a director.

Purplebricks told investors on Wednesday it had revived word from Lecram that it was seeking to requisition a meeting to vote on Pindar’s position, and its board are now ‘in the process of reviewing [its] legal validity’.

Lecram Holdings, an investment vehicle for investor Adam Smith, has grown its stake in the online estate agent Purplebricks to 5.16% allowing it to call an extraordinary general meeting

After building a 4 per cent stake in July, Lecram lashed out at Pindar’s ‘highly unsatisfactory performance’ as chair and argued ‘urgent action is now essential to stabilise [Purplebricks] and restore its credibility within the investment community’.

Lecram is calling for Pindar’s removal as director and chair, and his replacement by founder of Countrywide and Rightmove Harry Hill.

Purplebricks said: ‘The board reaffirms its support for Paul Pindar as a director of the company and chairman of the board and believes that Paul has the continued support of a number of major shareholders.

‘This includes Axel Springer SE, a 26.5 per cent shareholder in the company, which has confirmed it remains supportive of Paul and intends to vote against the proposed resolution for his removal as a director of the company.

‘The board is firmly of the view that the Board changes proposed by the Requisition are not in the best interests of the Company or its shareholders.’

Purplebricks shares were down 1.3 per cent approaching midday to 11.4p, having fallen by more than 50 per cent so far this year.

The group’s battered share price was gifted rare respite in March after a show of support from the company’s directors and their associates.

Sharon Pindar, the wife of chairman Paul, purchased 112,500 shares, while non-executive director Elona Mortimer-Zhika, purchased 37,500 shares, and senior independent non-executive director Simon Downing purchased 1,000,000 shares.

Purplebricks said: ‘Within the Company’s FY22 results announcement, published on 2 August 2022, a clear plan was set out to improve business performance, return to positive cash flow and profitability, and build a scalable business model.

‘The board considers that Lecram Holdings Limited’s decision to lodge the requisition is disruptive when the company and its executive team are focused on delivery of this turnaround plan.

‘The board recognises that having the right blend of skills and capabilities within the Board is beneficial to support the executive team and is key to delivering the performance improvement.’

It added that following several senior appointments Purplebricks ‘is benefitting from the leadership of a well-functioning and capable board, with a clear plan to improve performance and support from its major shareholders, including Axel Springer SE’.

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