RP Data Finds Fixer-Upper in Property.com.au

Information Services company RP Data has acquired real estate site property.com.au, relieving publisher PMP Communications of the site while boosting its own presence in the online property market.

Under the deal, RP Data will pay $3.5 million cash for property.com.au, $500,000 of which will be paid over the next two years in exchange for property-related content from PMP’s magazines such as Home Beautiful and Your Garden.

Property.com.au has been struggling of late, recording growing losses under PMP’s control. RP Data managing director Ray Catelan maintained that his company can turn this financial history around, saying that the incorporation of the site into RP Data’s infrastructure “will have a positive effect on our earnings by the end of this financial year.” This gives RP Data four months to turn the sites performance around.

Catelan believed that RP Datas existing infrastructure will “allow us to immediately raiotnalise and restructure property.com.au to achieve this result.” RP Data’s current property site realtor.com.au will be merged with property.com.au, to build a site with more than 100,000 listed properties, said Catelan.

This new investment will add to RP Datas existing 10 per cent interest in propertypage.com.au, a real estate site that provides a combined online presence for smaller real estate agents and those without an individual Web presence.

“This property.com.au investment is part of our growth strategy in the online property information services market,” said Catelan. “It has added more than 1300 agents to our business, increasing our property-related client base to more than 5000 subscribers.”

As many of property.com.au’s clients are in Victoria, Catelan said RP Data would use the acquisition to build its position across the state.

RP Data’s investment in property.com.au follows News Limited’s own movement in the real estate area, when it took a 44.2 per cent stake in realestate.com.au last November.

Under the terms of this agreement, News gained 40 million shares in the site for $10.75 million cash and kind, and incorporated its Homes Online Web service into the site.

Yahoo! Australia & New Zealand also bought into the real estate arena when it gained access to property content from f2’s domain.com.au, that was part of Yahoo!’s purchase of f2’s auction site SOLD.com.au.

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