Online investment firm, Catcha Group announced today that REA Group (an affiliate of News Corp) has made an investment of US$100 million in its portfolio company iProperty Group for a 17.22 per cent stake.
The transaction now values iProperty at approximately US$600 million, making it the most highly valued publicly traded internet company in ASEAN, according to an official note.
iProperty Group is the owner and operator of a network of property websites, and was floated on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in September 2007 at A$0.25 per share. This announcement saw shares in iProperty surge by 18.37 per cent to A$3.69.
The deal was discussed in New York last month when Patrick Grove, Co-founder and CEO, Catcha Group, met with Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corp to discuss collaborative opportunities in emerging markets.
REA Group, operator of realestate.com.au, is 61.1 per cent owned by News Corp and is one of the largest online property portals in the world with a market capitalisation of AU$6.22 billion (US$5.84 billion), Catcha Group said in a statement.
The acquisition is seen to provide REA with a strategic foothold in the region and complement its existing online real estate businesses in Hong Kong and China.
Catcha Group claims a portfolio of online assets over US$1 billion.
“Southeast Asia offers tremendous potential for growth (with) its growing middle class, strong economy, and high internet and smartphone penetration,” said Grove.
“It makes absolute sense for investors to seek out companies that have already establishing market-leading positions in the region,” he added.
In addition to iProperty Group, Catcha Group is the major shareholder of ASX-listed iCar Asia, which operates a network of online automotive sites, and is a key shareholder in leading property portal group, propertyfinder.ae. Catcha Group is also a major shareholder of Bursa Malaysia-listed Rev Asia Berhad and ASX-listed iBuy Group, which owns and operates Asia’s leading network of e-commerce websites.
Investors in Catcha Group portfolio companies include Rebate Networks GmBH, Star Media Group (Malaysia) and Intel Capital, to name a few.