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HBOS Sell Stake In Rightmove

HBOS has offloaded its 13% stake in property business Rightmove, banking in excess of £50 million along the way. The stake was acquired for less that £8 million just eight years ago and represents a very useful profit for the under pressure banking group. As you might expect, the sale has sent shockwaves through the city with many taking this as a sign that the property boom is well and truly over.

The share sale comes on the back of disappointing results from Rightmove which alerted the market to the fact that estate agents were shying away from the site in order to cut costs. The property market has been very much under a cloud for some time with concerns that we have not yet seen the bottom of the market. While the move to sell the Rightmove stake has been described as ‘strategic’ it has done nothing to alleviate fears in the market.

After a period of expansion in the property market we are seeing more and more companies pull in their spending and downsize in order to protect profitability. The conflicting news on inflation, interest rates and possible strike action by unions in the summer has not helped to lift the gloom.

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