PropertyGuru to acquire Australia’s REA Group’s iProperty Malaysia and thinkofliving Thailand assets for 18% equity
By Digital News Asia May 31, 2021
- PropertyGuru strengthens position as Southeast Asia’s Proptech leader
- REA Group to become shareholder and take seat on PropertyGuru Board
PropertyGuru Group (PropertyGuru), Southeast Asia’s (SEA) leading property technology company and REA Group, an ASX listed business specialising in property marketplaces and data assets globally, today announced they have entered into an agreement whereby PropertyGuru will acquire all of the shares in REA Group’s operating entities in Malaysia and Thailand, which operate iProperty.com.my and Brickz.my in Malaysia and thinkofliving.com and Prakard.com in Thailand. The transaction is expected to close in July 2021 with both brands to be retained.
[Ed Note: Despite the move creating a clear dominant player in Malaysia and Thailand the press release does not make any mention of regulatory approval. According to a lawyer in KL, the merger notification regime in Malaysia has not come into effect yet so there is technically no requirement for PropertyGuru to obtain approval.]
As part of the agreement, REA Group will receive an 18% equity interest in the enlarged PropertyGuru Group and appoint a Director to the Board. Building on the success of REA Group’s Malaysian and Thailand businesses, the transaction will provide REA with a strategic shareholding in a larger, more diversified company.
The acquisitions underpin PropertyGuru's strategy of being the No. 1 Proptech group in SEA. Home-grown in Singapore, PropertyGuru operates leading property marketplaces in five of the biggest Southeast Asian economies. The addition of these businesses will bolster PropertyGuru’s ability to provide home seekers with transparent and easy access to the most comprehensive set of data, actionable insights, and services to support their homeownership aspirations in Southeast Asia.
Olivier Lim (pic), chairman of the Board, PropertyGuru Group, said, “A key part of PropertyGuru’s success has been its laser focus on anticipating and addressing the unique needs of consumers in our region by investing in continuous innovation. As a Singapore based and home-grown, regional Proptech leader, this is a key milestone in PropertyGuru’s history. It is an exciting and significant step in our vision to provide ever greater value to our customers across a broader addressable market in Southeast Asia.”
Pointing out that REA Group joins existing investors such as KKR and TPG, Olivier adds, “This will further accelerate the digitalisation of the property sector of this exciting region.”
Hamish McLennan, chairman, REA Group, said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with PropertyGuru – a leading Proptech company in Southeast Asia. We have been very impressed by the management team, led by Hari V. Krishnan, and look forward to supporting them with their ambitious plans for the digitisation of the property industry in this dynamic region.”
Hari V. Krishnan, chief executive officer and managing director, PropertyGuru Group, said, “The acquisitions of REA Group’s companies in Malaysia and Thailand are a key milestone in PropertyGuru’s history – a Singapore based home-grown company that has over the last fourteen years expanded into four other markets to become the regional proptech leader with product diversified solutions for the property sector.”
Hari notes that by combining resources, both organisations will be able to deliver even more innovation to home seekers, equipping them with insights to make confident decisions. “Together we will also enable our customers, the agents and property developers powering the market, to reach an even wider audience and be more efficient in their allocation of resources.”
He points out that combining PropertyGuru’s strengths in technology and proprietary data with iProperty.com.my’s footprint and relationships with developers and agents will help accelerate its goal of creating Southeast Asia’s property “Trust Platform”.
Owen Wilson, CEO, REA Group, said, “Joining with the PropertyGuru Group creates new opportunities for collaboration and access to a deeper pool of expertise, technology and investment. It positions these already strong brands well to accelerate the next wave of Proptech innovation in Southeast Asia.”
Despite all the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic over the past year, PropertyGuru grew monthly visits to 35 million regionally and continues to be the regional Proptech leader with over 50% share in Southeast Asia.