Earlier in the week @onthemarketblog reported that growing online easyproperty.com estate agent had recieved a substantial new round of funding worth £15m, from the Tosca hedge fund, setting a current valuation of £100m.
When the CEO Rob Ellice was asked by Reuters ,whether he would sell the company
"We're not up for sale at the moment ... We are acquisitive and aggressive at the moment," Ellice said.
EasyProperty, currently in hot pursuit of an agent in the UK for 7 million pounds, wants to buy niche estate agents worth 5-10 million pounds that cater to markets such as student housing.
The easyProperty brand is on lease for 20 years from Haji-Ioannou, better known as Stelios, founder of budget airline easyJet Plc.
EasyProperty offers private landlords, housing associations, investors and developers the ability to list and market their properties.
Ellice expects easyProperty to be worth more than a billion pounds within the next two or three years as the company expands overseas.
Their are many contenders, high street / online firms possible for acquisition under Key Criteria
1) London Presence (main battleground where high street EA has greatest monopoly)
2) National Coverage (Midlands,North,Wales ,where markets are fragmented)
3) it's revenue stream is higher in the cross selling of financial products, (high street assets (light) lease bought out expensive, (heavy) units sold at loss in current climate, commercial real estate market is not what it was..)
4) Established boutique online agents (homecloud, iamtheagent upestates, settled.co.uk easy to scale up having real professionals Not just "celebrity image")
5) purplebricks housesimple emoov all ruled out, all have investment over the value,of the currently.. touted £7M investment threshold...
BUT does it make business sense and could £7 million be invested in a smarter ways ? easymoney.com ( in partenrship with zurich global insurer) is already an online personal finance portal of the easyGroup, & 7 million would be better spent, setting up, integrated property search app with fintech banking app [ to include PRA + research and development costs ].A solution, could be to use proprietary software, which is already available, lowering R and D considerably. Atom Bank feasibility in using ,their software, under license / agreement is a possible corridor. Toscafund has close ties , investing with the bank in Nov 2015 and also in another, aldermore , late 2014.
Student website aquisition ? already has lettings arm unlike some online estate agents , better tying up a deal with the following [who @onthemarketblog see as having great potential] in UK , Europe and US for overseas expansion.
http://hostmaker.co/london/ airbnb management company London Barcelona Rome / all other global markets via Airbnb great scale potental .
emoov > Simon Murdoch [zoopla] > Robin Klein [zoopla,wonga] > onefinestay London NewYork LA Paris premium lettings market ?
also collaborations/considerations.. [ quite a few could be acquired for alot less than £7 million ..]
Purplebricks[PB] has credit union association, via wonga , Errol Damelin is an investor in PB and former boss of payday lender, [though not direct BoE authorisation] , PB will be launching on the AIM stock market on 17th .
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