Exclusive: Easygroup entrepreneur Sir Stelios today denied he was using his famous business name to exploit small investors buying shares in the new estate agency easyProperty.
Last week, private equity guru Jon Moulton argued in City A.M. that the retail shareholders are getting a bad deal, but are being persuaded to invest by the association with Sir Stelios.
But the serial entrepreneur hits back in a strongly-worded letter today.
“I own a famous brand. The easy brand is recognised by consumers all over the world,” he writes.
“By extending this brand into other sectors, transparently and honestly, easyGroup makes investing in the respective start-up less risky not the other way round – all other things being equal.”
EasyProperty has raised £1.27m from small investors using the Crowdcube funding platform. That smashes the £1m target set for the 1.5 per cent stake – indicating those investors value the company at closer to £84m.
“Mr Moulton needs to brush up on his valuation skills,” Sir Stelios writes. “EasyProperty is a typical early stage, high-tech, internet start-up which traditionally attracts a demanding valuation.”
He argues that while he is responsible for the easy brand and is listed as a “brand partner” on the fundraising site, he is not a director of the group and is not using his famous name unduly to promote the stock.
Jon Moulton declined to comment further.