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News Corp, The Wall Street Journal and iProperty are now related

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Anyone who’s thinking about property investment or buying first home would have heard of iProperty. This is an online company in the real estate industry seeking to replace the traditional media which has been loved by developers for the longest of time. In Malaysia, when you think about searching for properties, typically you would only look at three major sites. iProperty, PropertyGuru and Propwall. After these few sites, you may then refer to a few leading real estate blogs. 🙂

Latest news in the industry is that News Corp which owns REA Group Ltd and publishes The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has bought a 17.22% stake in iProperty. This stake was sold to them by Seloger.com SA which is a unit of German media group Axel Springer. The stake costs US$99.9 million (RM320 million). With this purchase, iProperty is valued at US$600 million, making it the most highly valued publicly traded internet company in ASEAN according to their official note.

If you do not know who is REA Group, then you may not have been to Australia before. It owns realestate.com.au which is the most dominant property site in Australia. The reason why REA Group bought iProperty? CEO of iProperty Patrick Grove said that “Southeast Asia offers tremendous potential for growth (with) its growing middle class, strong economy, and high internet and smartphone penetration,”. iProperty’s largest shareholder remains to be Catcha Group and some of Catcha Group’s portfolio companies are also owned by Star Media Group (Malaysia).

Until today, despite the popularity of mobile and online, the total marketing expenditure of developers are still with traditional media, including newspapers, billboards, buntings along the road etc. Thus, in terms of potential, it is huge. As for how fast and far can the online media grow to, it depends on the management teams of these companies. If their focus is on online, then they are on the right track. If their focus is on using online to fortify their traditional media business, I think this would not help the push into online. Just a personal view. Oh yeah, I do not own even a single share in every company mentioned in this article.

written on 1st August 2014

Next suggested article: Online Property Site and Online Buyer’s Club?

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