Online estate agent Purplebricks Group PLC (LON:PURP) was one of the biggest stories on the junior market this week after it confirmed an embarrassing retreat from the US while revealing its full-year losses had almost doubled.
Vic Darvey, who took over as boss of the AIM 100 firm after founder Michael Bruce stepped down earlier this year, said that the US business had not achieved expected levels of revenue growth and would be shut down by the end of 2019.
Purplebricks’ flight from the US followed a similarly fumbled withdrawal from the Australian market in May. Since then the share price has shed 27% of its value.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said Purplebricks had “paid the price” for spreading itself too thinly. However, he added that the American exit was “the correct decision” as the firm could now focus on its more established businesses in the UK and Canada.
Investors also seemed content with a ‘wait and see’ approach as, despite some volatility, the shares ended the week only 0.8% lower at 98.1p.
Looking at the wider market, the AIM All-Share was 0.5% lower at 914.7 as it underperformed its benchmark, the FTSE 100, which was up 2.1% at 7,580.
Majestic Wine PLC (LON:WINE) rose 6.2% to 273p after press reports emerged that Fortress Investment Group, owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, was the frontrunner in a bidding war for its 200-store estate, which is expected to fetch around £100 million.
There was also talk that Fortress and other bidders had approached wine retailing bigwig and former Tesco executive Dan Jago about running the operation once the sale is complete.
The bid of 350p per share is an 11% premium on Telford’s close price from the day before the offer was announced.
Energy storage group CAP-XX Limited (LON:CPX) surged 16.3% higher to 4.7p after it settled a court action in the US and signed a deal with North America’s largest capacitor maker CDE to licence two of its patents.
Security solutions firm Westminster Group PLC (LON:WSG) advanced 32.5% to 17.9p on news of a deal with the Gulf Aviation Academy of Bahrain to provide aviation and other specialised training services.
Among the fallers, there was turbulence for African airline fastjet PLC (LON:FJET), which descended 4.5% to 1.48p as its executive Nico Bezuidenhout said he would be leaving the firm at the end of September.
Telecoms equipment maker Filtronic PLC (LON:FTC) was giving off weak signals with a trading update that predicted it would swing to a loss in its 2019 financial year, sending the shares down 7% to 8p.