Investors said on Wednesday evening that Foxtons Group (LSE: FOXT.L - news) , the listed estate agency chain, had already held preliminary talks about a takeover of Emoov although it was unclear whether these were still ongoing.
The decision to put itself up for sale comes less than four months after Emoov completed a merger with Tepilo, the business founded by Channel 4 presenter Sarah Beeny, and Urban (Other OTC: AQUM - news) , the online lettings group.
That three-way tie-up resulted in Richard Desmond, the former Daily Express owner, taking a large minority stake in the combined company.
It had been intended that the deal would lead to a stock market flotation before the end of the year, although sources said that was now off the table because of Emoov's financial position.
"Every growth company needs to raise funding," said one person close to the business.
Emoov's other investors include Channel 4's Commercial Growth Fund, which provides free airtime on the broadcaster in return for equity stakes in technology start-ups.
Rising customer acquisition costs and investors' scepticism about the ability of smaller players to challenge Purplebricks have prompted numerous rounds of merger talks between online estate agents in the last two years.
Other significant operators in the sector include HouseSimple, which is part-owned by the Carphone Warehouse co-founder Sir Charles Dunstone, and easyProperty, which merged with the parent company of the Guild of Property Professionals last year.
OnTheMarket, a property portal used by independent estate agents, has floated in recent months.
Another rival, Yopa, has raised funding from investors including the publisher of the Daily Mail.
Run by Russell Quirk, eMoov has been examining plans to float on the stock market for well over a year.
It raised about £9m in funding in the summer of 2017 which valued it at £40m, and its performance since then has been difficult to deduce from publicly available information.
The company believes its hybrid model, which offers other property-related services as well as the ability to market homes on its platform, provides a route to future profitability.
The involvement in the proposed merger of Channel 4's media-for-equity fund will provide substantial advertising inventory to promote the Emoov and Tepilo brands.
Other tech start-ups such as Tootle, a digital car-buying service, have struck similar deals.
The three-way combination of Emoov, Tepilo and Urban came during a slowdown in parts of the UK housing market.
While Purplebricks is by far the largest player in the online estate agents sector, its business model has also begun to attract greater scrutiny.
Earlier this month, Purplebricks confirmed the purchase of a stake in Homeday, a German online estate agent, taking it into an important European market for the first time.
Emoov declined to comment on Wednesday evening.