One of Purplebricks’ biggest investors, investment and insurance giant Old Mutual, has very slightly reduced its shareholding in Purplebricks to below 12%.
It now has 32,282,940 shares in the company, representing an 11.93% stake.
Previously it held 12%, with 32,620,916 shares.
The reduction was notified to the stock exchange, complying with a requirement that major shareholders, defined as those with a stake of over 3%, have to disclose any share transaction which crosses certain thresholds.
The news appeared to have very briefly jangled investors’ nerves. The price went down about 4% on the news, but soon rallied, ending the day at 435p, up 10p.
Old Mutual Global Investors has had a significant stake in Purplebricks since it launched on the stock market in December 2015 with shares at £1. Fund manager Neil Woodford holds the largest single stake.
Shares in Purplebricks have risen over 190% in value since January of this year – meaning that while Old Mutual retains virtually all of its stake, it will also have turned a very decent profit. The relatively small number of shares it sold netted around £1m.
It is not unusual for major investors to realise part of the value of their holdings, while still committing long-term, and this appears to be the case with Old Mutual.
* Separately, Rightmove finance director Robyn Perriss exercised her right to acquire 4,999 deferred shares awarded at nil cost in March 2015, in respect of her 2014 financial year bonus. She subsequently sold 3,674 of these shares, at an average price of 4,312p. She also exercised her right to acquire 20,584 performance shares awarded at nil cost in May 2014. She subsequently sold 15,129 at an average price of 4,326p – this transaction being worth a total of £654,480. Perriss has been with Rightmove since 2007 and finance director since 2014.