In a major consolidation in the online realty space, PropTiger.com and Housing.com on Tuesday announced a merger to create India’s largest online real estate services company and the joint entity will raise USD 55 million of fresh investment. News Corp-backed PropTiger.com and SoftBank-backed Housing.com announced “they will come together to become India’s largest online real estate services company.”
As part of the transaction, REA Group Ltd will invest USD 50 million in the joint entity with an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp, investing USD 5 million. News Corp remains the largest shareholder of PropTiger, and also owns 61.6% of REA Group. Representatives of REA and SoftBank will join the board of the joint entity, which will continue to be chaired by a News Corp representative.
Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and CEO of PropTiger, will serve as CEO of the new entity. Jason Kothari, CEO of Housing.com,, has decided to move on to pursue other opportunities in the Indian Internet space. He will continue to be an advisor to the joint entity till February.
Henry Ruiz, Chief Digital Officer, REA Group, Simon Barnett, Sales Director, News Corp, and Jonathan Bullock, MD, SoftBank Group International will join Raju Narisetti (chair), Ravi Adusumalli from SAIF Partners and Prashanth Prakash from Accel Partners as investor directors on the board of the joint entity.
The joint entity will draw on strengths of PropTiger, Housing.com and Makaan.com to offer a unique holistic experience to consumers, real estate developments, brokers and homeowners, the statement said. PropTiger is the largest online residential real estate brokerage firm, having completed transactions worth USD 1.5 billion since its founding in 2011, while Housing.com is India’s most popular online platform for buying and selling homes, receiving over four million visits every month.
The new entity will be the only player in India offering a full range of online and offline services in the real estate space, such as personalised search, virtual viewing, site visits, legal and financial diligence, negotiations, property registration, home loans and post- sales service. Commenting on the investment, REA Group CEO Tracy Fellows said, “India is an important part of our international growth strategy. We believe in the potential of the Indian real estate market. REA invests in companies that are leaders in their markets. The joint entity will have access to REA Group’s expertise and know-how from its operations across the globe.”
News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson said, “Our investments in PropTiger, REA Group and Move, Inc. are testimony to our faith in the potential of the global digital real estate market, of which we are now the largest player. SoftBank Group International MD Jonathan Bullock said, “Housing is very well established as an online real estate platform brand and we have been working with the management team to create strong execution capabilities to offer full stack services under one umbrella. PropTiger has already created a great transaction engine. We have full confidence in the management team and will continue to support them.”
The merger will immediately strengthen PropTiger’s full stack Online-to-Offline (O2O) services proposition, it said. In April, 2015, PropTiger acquired online classifieds platform Makaan.com to launch India’s first O2O platform, aiding consumers throughout their home buying journey, from initial search and discovery to the final step of transaction closure. Speaking on the partnership, Dhruv Agarwala, Co-founder & CEO of PropTiger said, “The deal is a continuation of our efforts to bring best in class services to consumers and create a unified technology driven platform that is capable of serving all needs of consumers, developers and brokers with respect to buying selling and renting of homes. The timing of this deal is just right.”