Propertyfinder.com to be bought

Ten years after propertyfinder.com blazed a trail by setting up the UKs first property search website, News International and realestate.com.au today announced the purchase of Asserta Holdings, which owns UK property portal Propertyfinder.com in a deal which values the company at 15m.

News International and realestate.com.au, Australias leading property portal, have jointly purchased 95% of Asserta Holdings for 14.3m from funds advised by venture capital firm Arts Alliance, as well as minority shareholders including Hamptons Group and management.

Under its new ownership, Propertyfinder.com and its customers will benefit from the market leading skills and capabilities of News International and realestate.com.au. Propertyfinder will have the clear objective of becoming the leader in the UK online property market.

News International will provide the unparalleled reach of its newspapers and websites to create enhanced awareness of the Propertyfinder.com brand and new distribution channels for the listings of Propertyfinder.coms customers.

Propertyfinder will utilise realestate.com.aus technology, product suites, and sales and marketing approaches to provide customers with a broad range of advertising options while rapidly accelerating subscription and visitor growth.

The existing propertyfinder.com team will remain in place and will continue to operate from its offices in London and Frome, Somerset. A separate board will be put in place to oversee strategic operations while realestate.com.au will have day-to-day management control of Propertyfinder.com.

Jim Buckle, managing director of propertyfinder.com, says: We are delighted to be joining forces with realestate.com.au and News International. We have dedicated propertyfinder.com to serving the needs of independent estate agents, free from the control of big corporate estate agencies and the local print media groups. This transaction will further this goal and is excellent news for all our stakeholders.
Our member agents will benefit both from the expertise that realestate.com.au will bring and from the long media reach of News International as well as significantly increased marketing expenditure. Landlords and vendors will benefit as the best property website gets wider use from both agents and consumers and our staff will enjoy being part of a new exciting phase of growth for the company.

We are very excited about the future and look forward to becoming the UKs no one property website.

Simon Baker, Chief Executive Officer of realestate.com.au, says: We are very excited about the acquisition of propertyfinder.com. There are many similarities between propertyfinder.com today and the realestate.com.au of three years ago and we believe that the combined forces of News International and realestate.com.au will provide the business with a good chance of becoming the leader in the UK market.