Catcha buys undisclosed stake in Middle East property portal

  • KL investment firm expands beyond Asean region, but still committed to emerging markets
  • Undisclosed stake in Dubai property portal to tap online classifieds and real estate growth

Catcha buys undisclosed stake in Middle East property portalINVESTMENT firm Catcha Group, which had earlier reported it had allocated US$150 million for online investments in South-East Asia, went further afield to acquire an undisclosed stake in Dubai-headquartered property portal
Catcha Group, which also owns the ASX-listed iProperty Group, said the new investment sees it expanding its reach beyond the Asean region but underlining its commitment to emerging markets.
Industry analysts predict that online advertising in the MENA (Middle East/ North Africa) region is growing at 37% per year and is set to hit US$2.8 billion in 2016, while mobile display advertising is predicted to increase at a rate of 40% to 50% annually, it said in a statement.
“Classified is a winner-takes-all category,” said Catcha Group founder and chief executive officer Patrick Grove (pic).
“It’s a great model but only if you’re No 1 – is the market leader … in a dynamic emerging market, positioning it perfectly for immense success and outsized returns,” he added.
The Dubai property portal was established by founder and CEO Michael Lahyani in 2005, in response to the region’s phenomenal growth rate and real estate boom, Catcha Group said.
In November 2007, the REA Group of Australia – a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and one of the world’s largest online real estate advertising networks – purchased 51% of the company.
In 2009, Lahyani regained 100% control of the business and has since consolidated its position as the Middle East’s No 1 online property portal, Catcha Group said.
Produced in English and Arabic, the portal connects Middle East real estate developers, brokers and agents with investors, buyers and renters; and has over 50,000 live listings and 16 million property views per month, the Kuala Lumpur-based investment firm said in its statement.
Catcha Group controls numerous companies involved in the media, new media, e-commerce and entertainment fields, and holds 50 other private investments in the online space.
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