Investment firm, Catcha Group announced today that REA Group, an affiliate of News Corp has acquired a 17.22 per cent stake in its portfolio company, iProperty Group. The US$100 million deal, which was inked on Monday 28 July 2014, is one of the largest investments ever made in an ASEAN-based Internet company, Catcha said.
The transaction valued iProperty at approximately US$600 million, making it one of most highly valued publicly traded Internet company in ASEAN and effectively places REA Group as iProperty Group’s second largest shareholder; Catcha Group remains its largest shareholder.
iProperty Group is the owner and operator of the iProperty websites and was floated on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:IPP) in September 2007 at AU$0.25 per share. The Monday announcement saw shares in iProperty surge by 18.37 per cent to AU$3.69.
The deal was discussed in New York last month when Catcha Group co-founder and Group CEO, Patrick Grove met with News Corp Chairman and CEO, Rupert Murdoch 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. 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 said that it currently boasts a portfolio of online assets worth well in excess of US$1 billion and has extensive experience and an unparalleled track record of building substantial online companies. “Southeast Asia offers tremendous potential for growth – its growing middle class, strong economy and high internet and smartphone penetration – it makes absolute sense for investors to seek out companies that have already establishing market-leading positions in the region,” Patrick Grove said.
In addition to iProperty Group, Catcha Group is the major shareholder of ASX-listed iCar Asia (ASX:ICQ), an online automotive sites, and is a key shareholder in leading property portal group, propertyfinder.ae. Catcha Group is also the major shareholder of Bursa Malaysia listed Rev Asia Berhad (REV:MK) and ASX-listed iBuy Group (ASX:IBY), which owns and operates a network of e-commerce websites.
Investors in Catcha Group portfolio companies include Rebate Networks GmBH, Star Media Group (Malaysia) and Intel Capital and others.