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News Corp owned REA acquires iProperty for $414M


REA Group, News Corp’s online real estate company from Australia, is buying rival iProperty Group for $414 million, reports ET, valuing the latter at AUD $750 million. This will add iProperty’s websites in Thailand, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia to REA’s portals in Australia, the US and China, with plans to expand in the Asia regions.

REA already owns a stake in iProperty which operates online real estate portals in India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines and had bought 17.2% stake in it for $106 million from Axel Springer’s French subsidiary SeLoger.com in July last year. News Corp owns 62% of REA, while REA owned about 22.7% of iProperty.

REA will offer iProperty shareholders either AUD $4 per share or a mix of AUD $1.20 a share in cash and 0.7 shares in a newly formed unlisted company, which will own an indirect interest in the latter. The acquisition is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2016.

RealAcres acquisition: Way back in 2008, iProperty entered the Indian market by acquiring Horizon Infoventures, which owned the Indian property portal RealAcres. Then, iProperty would introduce print, exhibition and online luxury products to the Indian market. iProperty invested A$ 0.53 Million (around $470,000) in 4 tranches for 43 percent shares, and swap shares for 17 percent. It had the option to acquire the remaining 40 percent based on future earnings. The management of RealAcres had a lock-in for a minimum of 3 years. Find more of iProperty’s acquisitions here.

Days after RealAcres’ acquisition, iProperty invested around $4.4 Million (Rs 18.8 crore/ AUD$5 million) in the company. At that time, iProperty India claimed to have more than 211,562 property listings, and provided financial and real estate news, in addition to property rates for commercial and residential sectors, advice through Q&A sections and experts, and financial tools.

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Axel Springer’s stake in iProperty: In 2011, German media company Axel Springer picked up a 9.4% stake in IPGA Ltd, which is iPropety’s parent company for AUD $8.9 million (~ Rs 42.17 crore), by acquiring 15,347,500 shares of the company through SeLoger.com, one of its subsidiary companies. SeLoger was France’s leading property portal and was acquired by Axel Springer in March 2011.

News Corp’s PropTiger investment in India: In India, News Corp has a 30% stake in online real estate services portal PropTiger. News Corp had previously acquired a 25% stake in Elara, PropTiger’s parent company, after PropTiger raised $30 million from News Corp in November last year. Other than the funding, the realty platform would be able to make use of News Corps’ digital and product expertise, especially with REA and Move. At that time, PropTiger mentioned that with News Corp’s investment, other major shareholders SAIF and Accel Partners had also increased their stake in PropTiger.

Image Credit: Wikipedia user Kaihsu Tai

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