Axel Springer, a 26.5% stakeholder in Purplebricks, has removed its representative from the board of directors while talks of a potential sale continue.
Ait Voncke, named Axel Springer's representative on the Purplebricks board in 2022, will step aside from his role as a director of the company effective 6 March as Axel Springer considers its position during Purplebricks' ongoing offer period.
The trading update reads:
Following commencement of the strategic review announced by the Company on 17 February 2023, Axel Springer and the Company have been considering the regulatory and governance expectations around equality of information between shareholders during an offer period. After reviewing the position, Axel Springer has concluded that it will not maintain a board representative for the time being.
Axel Springer retains the right to reappoint a representative to the board of directors at its own discretion.
Shares in the beleaguered portal dropped 8% when the announcement was made in a stock exchange update on Tuesday morning.
Boardroom drama is the name of the game at Purplebricks with minority stakeholder Lecram Holdings Limited (5.16%) having made repeated calls for Purplebricks chairman Paul Pindar to step down since July 2022. The calls that have fallen on deaf ears with Purplebricks stating in no uncertain terms that the proposed change to replace Pindar with industry veteran Harry Hill are “not in the best interests of the company and its shareholders as a whole”.
Meanwhile, Voncke's removal comes just a matter of days since it emerged Michael Bruce is considering making an offer for Purplebricks, four years after he quit the company to found the now-defunct Boomin.