To celebrate the completion of the acquisition, a process that has taken several months, a press conference was held on Wednesday 17th February at iProperty Group’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
In attendance was Arthur Charlaftis, REA Group Chief Operating Officer, International & Developer and Georg Chmiel, CEO of iProperty Group.
The event was hosted by well known Malaysian personality, Vanessa Chong.
Following a traditional lion dance performance, Charlaftis and Chmiel took questions from the attending media relating to the potential implications of the acquisition for the Southeast Asian real estate market.
A clear market leader
REA Group’s credentials as a multinational digital advertising company specialising in property is well established. In Australia, REA Group operates the market-leading site, realestate.com.au, and its award-winning mobile apps.
The Group’s network of digital real estate sites includes European sites which are casa.it, atHome.lu, atOffice.lu, atHome.de and immoRegion.fr, and Chinese property site myfun.com, as well as a significant shareholding in Move, Inc. in the US.
Charlaftis commented international expansion was a core pillar of REA Group’s strategy, and that Southeast Asia was a market which held significant commercial opportunities.
“In 2014, we made an investment in iProperty because we had identified Southeast Asia as having excellent potential for long-term growth and knew that the iProperty Group was the very best partner for us in this region. Since then, iProperty’s management and staff have done an amazing job of building iProperty from an emerging start-up to being in leadership positions in its key markets,” he explained.
The acquisition, which valued iProperty Group at about AU$750.8 million, positions REA Group as the clear market leader in the online real estate industry across the Asia Pacific region, in an industry that is valued at AU$1.26 billion and growing rapidly.
There are a number of factors generating interest in the online advertising industry in Southeast Asia and bringing attention to businesses such as iProperty Group, who have established a market-leading position in the region.
Charlaftis said that a growing population, an increase in personal wealth, high numbers of real estate transactions and a significant total investment in real estate advertising made Southeast Asia a highly attractive market.
“With a population of more than 500 million people, Southeast Asia is the world’s fastest growing real estate market. Average property prices in Singapore and Hong Kong are already higher than in Australia, and the volume of transactions also exceeds that of Australia, with more than a million property transactions per year in South East Asia,” he said.
Charlaftis said that REA Group’s experience had been in helping to capture a growing digital audience, providing online real estate products and services to changing consumer behaviours.
“The total advertising spend is at a similar level to Australia however in the key Southeast Asian real estate markets, online only accounts for between 2 – 12% of the total advertising spend. We know that consumers in Southeast Asia are online and connected. We would, therefore, expect that the advertising spend will migrate rapidly towards online channels to mirror consumer media consumption.
“iProperty Group’s local market expertise is second to none and our teams will be working closely together to tap into the needs of buyers throughout the region and deliver even more value to our customers and consumers,” Arthur added.
A profitable marriage
CEO of iProperty Group Georg Chmiel said that by joining forces with REA Group, iProperty Group’s customers and consumers would benefit from REA Group’s digital real estate expertise, technology and international network across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America.
“We have strong synergies with REA Group and have already started to share cross-border opportunities. Most recently, we’ve offered REA’s Australian based customers the opportunity to participate in our Property and Investment Expo in Kuala Lumper in April. It’s an invaluable opportunity for Australian developers and project marketers to connect directly with property seekers & investors in Malaysia. We hope to have more of these shared opportunities in the future.
“This acquisition is a major accelerator as it significantly enhances the growth profile for both companies while giving our customers, property buyers and investors the opportunity to tap into a wider market,” said Chmiel.
While the day to day operations of the businesses continue as usual for the time being, opportunities are plentiful for this new online real estate advertising powerhouse.
In terms of ‘What’s Next?’ for the Group, Charlaftis said: “This acquisition positions us as a top-tier global provider in the online real estate industry. With highly skilled people in both businesses, we will be able to tap into greater resources to deliver superior results for customers and immersive experiences for consumers.
“In the future, we’ll certainly be looking to leverage our shared experience and know-how to find opportunities to connect our consumers and customers across the globe,” said Charlaftis.
Chmiel said that the focus for the short term would be on establishing information exchanges to enhance the knowledge and capabilities of both businesses.
“To do this, we are working closely with our management teams to find synergies and opportunities to connect with the people and programs which are going to deliver maximum value to our audiences,” he said.
Concluding the press conference with his thoughts on the acquisition, Chmiel said: “By joining forces with REA Group, we will benefit from the skills and resources available as part of REA’s community of passionate and talented people, as well as drawing on their digital real estate expertise, technology and international network. This is an important milestone that propels us into a future rich with opportunity for our customers, our people, and our company.”
This article was first published in the iProperty.com Malaysia March 2016 Magazine. Get your copy from selected news stands or view the magazine online for free at www.iproperty.com.my/magazine. Better yet, order a discounted subscription by putting in your details in the form below!