Sources say that on-off talks about merging online agents Emoov and Tepilo are likely to result in a deal very shortly.
The new, merged, company looks set to be run by Emoov, and not Tepilo, with the latter’s current owners Northern & Shell possibly wanting to take a back seat.
The deal, when and if concluded, is designed to give the new entity a clear second place behind Purplebricks, leapfrogging Yopa. It will leave perhaps six or seven players in the online space, we have been told.
It is also understood that Emoov has been wooing other possible partners for at least the last year, with rumoured names including House Network and House Simple. It is also believed that Emoov had talks with easyProperty before its ‘merger’ with the parent company of the Guild, and Fine & Country.
EYE has also been told that the deal between Emoov, founded by Russell Quirk, and Tepilo, founded by TV presenter Sarah Beeny, will present huge economies of scale.
A launch on the London stock market is expected within a one-year timescale, say our sources.
Yesterday, neither Emoov nor Tepilo responded to our requests for a statement. Quirk said he could not comment, and there was no response from Tepilo.
However, Mark Readings of House Network said: “A merger has been rumoured for the last two years within the online estate agency sector.
“The challenge is of course the integration of the two businesses and timeline to prove concept.
“This is a huge decision and the synergy and personnel dynamic will dictate whether the merger becomes successful, both short- and long-term.”
If the deal goes ahead, there will be backing from Channel 4, which is reputedly offering ‘millions’ of pounds worth of advertising in return for a stake in the new company.
A source told EYE last night that the deal was not yet done, and that talks between Emoov and Tepilo had been on and off, before becoming on again.
We were also told if there is a deal, it will involve a so far un-named third-party lettings company.