OnTheMarket CEO: investing not a ‘horrible idea’

16 Sep 2017

OnTheMarket.com CEO Ian Springett has responded to analyst Mike DelPrete’s critique of the U.K. property site’s upcoming float on the London Stock Exchange, noting that “the overwhelming majority of our members have supported our strategic proposals”.

DelPrete, the AIM Group’s resident proptech expert, wrote: “OnTheMarket, the property site challenging Rightmove and Zoopla, does not offer more value to consumers compared to the existing alternatives. It serves no purpose and investing in such a business would be a horrible idea.”

DelPrete argued that OnTheMarket does not have enough listings to make it valuable to consumers or enough traffic to make it valuable to estate agents. And that it does not have a unique selling point that would make it essential despite these shortfalls.

In a statement, Springett responded:

We note the opinions of Mike Delprete, who is clearly entitled to his view on the property sites landscape. We note, too, the views of the overwhelming majority of our members who have supported our strategic proposals.

“We believe that by raising capital from new investors we will substantially strengthen our market position in terms of growth in both property advertisers and consumer traffic. Agents provide the main property listings content and the main revenue sources for property sites.

“Our members’ ownership of shares in the newly-listed company will enable them to remain enfranchised, aligned and fully invested in OnTheMarket’s future success.”

The background to this discussion, for those of you who have managed to remain blissfully unaware of OnTheMarket’s float, is available in recent AIM Group news stories.

The initial announcement:

Agents’ Mutual Limited, the agent-owned company which operates U.K. real estate site OnTheMarket.com, announced its intention to list (here) on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange late this year. And, to drop the controversial “one-other-portal” rule on listing day.

Whether the intention turns into reality depends on a vote (for or against the plan to list) on Sept. 6 by the 2,700 estate agencies currently owning Agents’ Mutual….

The objective is to raise £50 million ($65 million U.S.) of new equity capital, to be used for funding growth of the site. The Agents’ Mutual board hopes to value the company between £200 million and £250 million.

The agents’ vote:

OnTheMarket.com, the U.K.’s third-largest property site, will float on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) following a vote by members of the parent company Agents’ Mutual.

Some Agents’ Mutual members voiced their opposition to the plan in the days before the vote, arguing that floating on the stock market would weaken the power of its original members.

The vast majority of members supported the proposal, however. Estate Agent Today reported that 89 percent of members who voted, either in person or by proxy, were in favor of taking the company public.

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Cila Warncke

Cila joined AIM Group in 2014 as writer/analyst for Spain. An Anglo-American living in Ibiza, she brings extensive international writing and consulting experience to the role. Educated at University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Glasgow University (MLitt), she has worked for wide range of consumer and B2B publications and companies in Europe and the USA, writing on topics ranging from marketing to travel to music to ultra-marathoning. She uses her writing, research and analytical skills to help clients tell their stories, grow their business, reach new audiences, build loyalty and exploit new media channels. Cila is also an award-winning essayist, creative writer and founder of Creative Writing Ibiza.