Oakley Capital Private Equity III (“Fund III”) has agreed to acquire a portfolio of European real estate websites including Casa.it in Italy and atHome.lu in Luxembourg (collectively “the business”). Oakley is backing the existing management team to acquire the business in a carve-out from its parent company, REA Group (ASX:REA).
The transaction builds on Oakley’s experience in the online consumer sector through its previous investments in Facile.it, Parship Elite Group and Verivox.de. Oakley is attracted to these business models because of the strong underlying structural market growth in these segments, their asset-light nature which leads to strong cash conversion, and the ability to accelerate performance through effective KPI management, especially around marketing.
Established in 1996, Casa.it is the number two player in the online real estate advertising market in Italy. The Italian residential property market is estimated to be worth over €75 billion annually, and the penetration of online property portals is expected to grow strongly as the market develops.
Established in 2001, atHome.lu has established a market leading position in the online real estate advertising market in Luxembourg, with over 90% coverage of real estate agents.
Both Casa.it and atHome.lu are well-positioned to replicate the success of leading property portal players in more mature markets such as the UK, Germany and Australia. Under the new ownership structure, the acquired businesses will be integrated more closely to achieve synergies and Oakley will use its experience in similar online business models to improve marketing efficiency and operating performance.
As a subsidiary of REA Group, the business generated revenues of €33.3 million and reported EBITDA of €6.0 million for the year ended 30 June 2016. Fund III intends to partly fund the acquisition with third party debt.
Mediobanca acted as financial advisor to Fund III on the transaction. Completion is expected to take place in Q1 2017.