OnTheMarket fails to impress with latest bid to win over agents
OnTheMarket’s share price dropped again yesterday, ending down 2.4 per cent.
This was despite the portal announcing a share giveaway to encourage new agents to join; the volume of shares they would receive would be dependent on them leaving one or both of the main portals.
By contrast, Rightmove’s share price yesterday rose 1.2 per cent.
All property share prices have taken a beating since the start of the Coronavirus crisis but over the long term OnTheMarket’s has fared less well than others in the sector.
OTM reached its all-time high share price of 176p in June 2018 but its current share price is worth under a third of that peak.
Rightmove, by contrast, was on a high of 688p as recently as February this year and after yesterday’s gain stands at 470p – still well over two thirds of its peak.
Earlier this month OTM revealed it had rescheduled some arrangements with creditors, was furloughing 22 per cent of its workforce, cutting temporary and sub-contracted IT workers by almost two thirds, and implementing a 20 per cent pay cut for the rest of the workforce and board members.
OTM’s share offer yesterday – with the most generous deals available only to those signing up and agreeing to drop the Big Two portals, Rightmove and Zoopla – left critics unimpressed.
Cheshire agency owner Maurice Kilbride tweeted of the OnTheMarket share proposal: “Wow! I am sure that will have agents clambering to sign up. Drop the other two portals and we will give you more shares in OTM! Which are trading at half their original value!”
Andrew Goldthorpe, chief executive of rival portal Property Mutual, commented on Estate Agent Today: “Surely that is limiting the options of the agent to market where they see fit? How is the agent able to act in the best interests of their client and market where and how they see fit? Haven’t we been here before?”
Russell Quirk, now a Keller Williams franchise part-owner, tweeted: “OTM advancing the same ethos again and expecting a different outcome. Success as a portal is not about mandating that your customers restrict their choice of advertisers. It’s about proposition, value and, above all, not being taken advantage of. For OTM that boat has sailed.”