REA Group builds $147m stake in PropertyGuru, completes 99 Group divestment

Photo: PropertyGuru

REA Group, a digital advertising company that operates property websites in Asia and Europe, now owns a stake worth S$198.5 million ($147 million) in Southeast Asian online realty company PropertyGuru, according to ACRA filings accessed by DealStreetAsia.

This comes after PropertyGuru bought REA Group’s operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand, whose sites include iProperty.com.my and thinkofliving.com. As part of the transaction, REA Group had received an 18% equity interest in the Singapore-based firm on an undiluted basis.

According to PropertyGuru’s regulatory filings, REA was allotted 636,815 ordinary shares in the Singapore-headquartered firm this week.

REA Group, which is majority-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. empire and is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, will also commit $52 million to PropertyGuru as the latter carves out its listing plans to list on the NYSE through a $1.8 billion merger with Bridgetown 2, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) backed by Richard Li and Peter Thiel.

PropertyGuru is expected to list either in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2022. After the listing, REA’s stake in PropertyGuru will dip to 15.8% on an undiluted basis. It will also be allowed to nominate one director to the board, which will be REA’s chief executive officer Owen Wilson.

In its latest financial report, REA said it had sold its 27% stake and a convertible note in 99 Group, a Singapore-based online property classified ads business and a PropertyGuru rival, worth $21 million.

The PropertyGuru and 99 Group transactions are expected to result in an overall net gain of approximately A$12 million, REA said.

PropertyGuru, founded by entrepreneurs Steve Melhuish and Jani Rautiainen in 2007, scrapped plans for an initial public offering on the Australian stock exchange in 2019 on valuation concerns.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.