Info Edge Ltd, which owns Naukri.com, Jeevansathi, 99Acres, Shiksha.com, among others has received board approval to raise up to Rs 750 crore in one or two tranches through qualified institutional placement (QIP), the company has informed BSE (pdf). The company will now be seeking shareholder’s approval for the same.
To facilitate this placement, the board has also approved an increase in the investment limit for foreign institutional investors (FII) to 50% of the company’s paid-up capital from 40% earlier, while the authorized share capital of the company has increased to Rs 150 crore from Rs 120 crore.
The company plans to use this capital to invest in organic and inorganic growth opportunities in existing businesses, particularly on its real estate business 99acres, besides general corporate purposes.
It’s worth noting that 99Acres has been reporting losses for quite sometime now. It had posted an EBITDA loss of Rs 4.8 crore in FY14, up from 0.8 crore loss in FY13. This was due to growing investment in advertising spends, sales and new offices.
Info Edge CEO Hitesh Oberoi had earlier mentioned that they aren’t chasing profitability at 99acres yet, rather they are focusing on increasing marketshare at the moment. He had added that profitability can be achieved by reducing advertising spends.
Rising competition in online real estate vertical
Through this investment, the company is probably looking to maintain its leadership position in the vertical, amid competition from players like Magicbricks and upstarts like Housing.com and Commonfloor which had recently raised significant investment and have been quite aggressive in the country. Oberoi had mentioned that this has led to increasing advertising spends in order to raise brand awareness. (Read: How Competition Is Changing 99acres)
These upstarts have also somewhat changed the game by offering significantly better products to consumers, which has forced incumbents like 99Acres and MagicBricks to invest in improving its user experience as well as improving its offering to brokers and consumers.
Earlier this year, 99Acres had launched iOS and Android apps and had rolled out a map based search in Delhi. It had also rolled out a pilot real estate verification service in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. Oberoi had said – “We are investing in data quality to ensure quality of information, in sales and opening new offices. We’re also investing in brand building, and get higher traffic share. We will continue to invest.”
Besides this, Info Edge has also been quite active on the investments fronts. Some of its recent investments include: