Softbank backed Housing.com has decided to merge with News Corp funded PropTiger.com. The new joint entity is claiming to be India’s largest digital real estate company, as it has raised a fresh VC funds of $55 million from REA Group and Softbank.
REA Group, which operates several high-profile real estate portals from Australia and Europe will invest $50 million into the new joint venture, while Softbank will contribute $5 million.
Interestingly, no numbers have been shared regarding the merger or the amount of shares exchanged between News Corp and Softbank regarding this merger. News Corp owns 61.6% stake in REA Group while Softbank owned 30% in Housing.com.
Another interesting fact: The investment of $55 million into the new joint entity is also the largest investment in India’s digital real estate market in the last two years.
While Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder & current CEO of PropTiger, will be the CEO of the joint entity; Jason Kothari, existing CEO of Housing.com will leave the company after February, 2017.
PropTiger, which claims to have processed $1.1 billion worth of transactions on its platform since its launch in 2011, had earlier acquired Makaan.com in 2015 for an undisclosed amount.
With this merger, PropTiger now aims to be a major player in the digital real estate market in India, with MagicBricks (backed by Times Internet) and 99Acres (backed by Naukri) as the other major competitors.
Few advantages which PropTiger now has:
- Via Makaan’s platform, they have now expertise in Online to Offline business model
- Via acquisition of Bengaluru based Out of Box Interactions (OOBI) in 2015 & Gurgaon-based 3DPhy in 2016, they have fairly decent command over VR-based experiences for their users
- After merging with Housing.com, they will get a boost of 4-5 million impressions per month. And, they can now cash in the brand image which Housing.com had made over the years
- Some of the services which the joint entity of Housing.com and PropTiger will now offer: personalized search, virtual viewing, site visits, legal and financial diligence, negotiations, property registration, home loans and post- sales service.
In 2015, there were rumors that Quikr can acquire Housing.com, which had been termed as ‘Joke of the Year’ by co-founder Rahul Yadav. After firing 600 employees, and ditching 80% of their business verticals, Housing.com was rumored to be at sale for $50 million.
Last year, Housing.com reported Rs 279 crore loss against revenues of Rs 5.5 crore. Housing.com had raised close to $100 million from investors which included SoftBank, Nexus Ventures, Falcon Edge and Helion Ventures.
It is still now clear how much money Softbank has wasted or earned via their investments in Housing.com. But yes, once-upon-a-time promising brand of real estate has now found a more stable location. And the brand Housing.com as we knew has finally expired.
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