Zoopla.co.uk acquires PropertyFinder Group

UK's fastest growing property website steps up challenge to Rightmove

7th Aug 2009

Zoopla.co.uk, the UK's leading property market resource, today announced that it had completed the acquisition of the PropertyFinder Group from News International Ltd and the REA Group, for an undisclosed sum.

The PropertyFinder Group includes propertyfinder.com, one of the best-known and most-visited property websites in the country, with over 2 million unique visitors per month as well as other online property assets including HotProperty.co.uk and UKPropertyshop.co.uk. This latest announcement by Zoopla.co.uk comes hot on the heels of its acquisition a couple of weeks ago of ThinkProperty.com from Guardian Media Group.

Under the deal, Zoopla.co.uk will take over and integrate the propertyfinder.com and other websites, benefiting from an additional 3 million unique visitors a month. The combined group will power an impressive range of property partnerships with leading UK websites including MSN, Yahoo!, AOL, Guardian, Tiscali, Sky and Virgin amongst others offering estate agents unrivalled exposure across the internet.

The acquisition is a coup for relative newcomer Zoopla.co.uk, taking over one of the most-established players in the market, propertyfinder.com, acquired by News International Ltd and REA Group in late 2005 along with HotProperty.co.uk and UKPropertyShop.co.uk that were added to the group last year.

Combining the unique and popular services offered by Zoopla.co.uk, including its free instant value estimates of every UK home, is a natural fit with the propertyfinder.com audience, long-standing industry position and relationships which will enable Zoopla.co.uk to further accelerate its impressive growth of the past year.

The combined business will be a win for both consumers, who will benefit from more listings and information on the UK property market, and agents who will gain more exposure and receive more leads as well as gaining access to the enhanced features and tools offered by Zoopla.co.uk including owner leads.

Since its launch early last year, Zoopla.co.uk has been on a non-stop path to transform the UK online property sector, with record growth despite gloomy market conditions, raising almost £4m of further funding at the start of this year and winning numerous awards. With this latest acquisition of the PropertyFinder Group, Zoopla.co.uk looks set to mount a challenge to market leader Rightmove.

Zoopla.co.uk has a highly experienced management team led by founder and CEO, Alex Chesterman, who also co-founded LOVEFiLM.com, Europe's largest online DVD rental business. Backers of Zoopla.co.uk include leading VCs Atlas Venture and Octopus Ventures as well as a number of well-respected angel investors. Nicholas Leeming, co-founder of propertyfinder.com, will remain with the business.

Alex Chesterman, founder and CEO of Zoopla.co.uk said:

"This is a transformational deal both for our business and for the online property landscape in the UK. Our organic growth over the past year has been exceptional but this acquisition is a great fit for us and will accelerate us significantly towards our goal of becoming the most efficient marketing partner for UK estate agents by providing them the widest possible exposure and best value online marketing services."

Nick Leeming, co-founder of propertyfinder.com added:

"The strength of Zoopla.co.uk in consumer and data services are a perfect fit with the long standing agent relationships, industry expertise and established levels of consumer traffic of the PropertyFinder Group. Combined we will deliver enormous value to estate agent clients across the UK. Our focus remains on providing excellent service for our member firms and this deal will allow us to further deliver on that promise."

- Ends -

For further information please contact Lawrence Hall on 020 7620 4618 / 07890 078 945 lawrence.hall@zoopla.co.uk.

Notes to editors

About Zoopla.co.uk

Zoopla.co.uk is a unique property website offering users information and tools to help them make better-informed property decisions. Our aim is to provide the most comprehensive source of residential property market information in the UK to help buyers, sellers, owners and estate agents alike and give them an advantage in the property market.

In 2007, following the success of bringing DVD rental to the web with LOVEFiLM.com, Zoopla founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain realised that the UK property market had yet to fully enjoy the benefits of the internet in terms of its ability to deliver transparency and efficiency. They set out with the mission to transform the property market for both professionals and consumers by:

  • offering users FREE access to instant value estimates, sold house prices and local information and trends
  • enhancing estate agents' marketing efficiency by providing exposure/leads on a pay-for-performance basis
  • helping users find local agents and other property professionals to assist them in the transaction process
  • letting buyers make offers on ANY UK home and owners test interest in their homes before choosing to sell
  • creating an environment where anyone can ask/answer questions and share their knowledge about homes

By providing FREE value estimates for EVERY UK home, sold prices and local information as well as hundreds of thousands of property listings for sale/to rent, Zoopla.co.uk is fast-becoming the ultimate destination for users to both search for property and to do their market research. We continue to be the UK's fastest growing property website and largest and most active property community, with over a million user contributions to our website in the past 12 months alone. We also offer unique features, like TemptMe. and AskMe., which allow consumers to gain an insight into the market and discover information they won't find anywhere else. Our estate agent directory, FindAnAgent and our unique AskAnAgent feature also help guide users to local professionals directly for their expertise.

Our value estimates are calculated using a proprietary algorithm (secret formula) that we have developed by analysing millions of data points relating to property sales and home characteristics throughout the UK. The algorithm works by comparing relationships between home prices, economic trends and property characteristics in given geographic areas. Our estimates are constantly refined, using the most recent data available and a variety of statistical methodologies, in order to provide the most current information on any home.

Zoopla Ltd is a privately held company with a highly experienced and proven management team, backed by well-respected angel investors and leading venture capital firms Atlas Venture (atlasventure.com) and Octopus Ventures (octopusventures.com).

About Propertyfinder.com

Propertyfinder.com is one of the UK's best-known and longest-standing property websites, operating since 1995. It has over 2 million unique visitors per month, listing over 400,000 properties from over 5,000 UK estate agents.

Propertyfinder.com exclusively powers the property search on some of the UK's most popular websites including MSN, Yahoo!, Sky, Virgin and Tiscali. The PropertyFinder Group also owns HotProperty.co.uk and UKPropertyshop, one of the UK's most comprehensive online estate agent directories, listing the details of over 17,000 UK agent offices.

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