In order to get a foothold into the Asian markets, Paris-based classifieds site SeLoger.com, a wholly owned subsidiary of Axel Springer AG, has acquired 9.4 per cent stake in IPGA Ltd. According to Bernama, the deal amount is valued at A$ 8.9 million ($9.37 million or Rs 42.20 crore) and SeLoger will acquire 15.35 million shares of IPGA.
Axel Springer AG is one of Europe's largest multimedia companies had acquired SeLoger.com in March, 2011. In late 2010, Axel had acquired 52.1 per cent stake in Automotive Exchange Pvt Ltd, the owner of automotive classified ads portal Carwale.com, and 19.1 per cent stake in lifestyle marketplace BagItToday.com.
IPGA Ltd is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and runs real estate classifieds sites under the banner of iProperty.com in Singapore, Malaysia, India, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Other websites run by the Australian firm include GoHome.com.hk and House18.com in Hong Kong; VrHouse.com.tw in Taiwan and iLuxuryasia.com (in Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia). It also features an events division which holds the iProperty.com EXPO. IPGA Ltd entered India in 2008 by acquiring Mumbai-based Horizon InfoVentures Pvt Ltd, which ran RealAcres.com. Realacres.com was re-launched as iProperty.com India and now has 211,562 property listings, according to the website.
"We have identified the Asian market as one with significant long-term future growth potential and believe that the IPGA business is best positioned to capture value from this market. We are looking forward to working with the IPGA team to bring our extensive knowledge and experience to the Asian market," said Roland Tripard, CEO, SeLoger.com. As of May 11, SeLoger.com recorded seven million unique visitors on its site.
IPGA Ltd will use the funds to expand further within the Asian markets. Simon Baker, chairman of IPGA Ltd, said, "The investment of SeLoger.com will provide IPGA with funds and experience to further consolidate our leading positions in our core markets and to look for new opportunities to expand within the region."
Incidentally, the online real estate classifieds sector has witnessed strong growth in India. Consim Info Pvt Ltd, the company behind one of the top matrimonial classifieds portals BharatMatrimony.com, announced an investment of Rs 20 crore to market Indiaproperty.com, which was re-launched with a focus on new residential and commercial properties. Indiaproperty.com has 1.5 million registered users and 250,000 unique daily visitors. The site has a total of 600,000 properties listed. Housing finance company HDFC has launched HDFCRed.com.
Other websites in this domain include Times Group's MagicBricks.com, which launched a mobile website, Info Edge's 99Acres.com and Makaan.com by the People Group. There is also a group buying site for real estate called GrOffr.com, which caters to six cities across India.