Real estate portals PropTiger.com and Housing.com have entered into an all-stock merger agreement to create India's largest online real estate services company, in a deal valued at about $70 million.
The companies have also raised $50 million from REA Group, which will be invested in the joint entity, while an affiliate of SoftBank Group Corp is investing $5 million.
"Housing.com's partnership with PropTiger is the next transformational step to realise our vision of becoming a full-service online-to-offline real estate services company. Housing.com and PropTiger share similar values - to provide trust, transparency and simplicity to the home buying journey," Jason Kothari, CEO of Housing.com, said.
"The joint entity will be well-positioned to establish market leadership in a large and rapidly changing marketplace. As I move on to my next opportunity, I am glad to leave behind a strong foundation," he added.
News Corp is the largest shareholder of PropTiger, and also owns 61.6 per cent 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.
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.
Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and CEO of PropTiger, will serve as CEO of the joint entity. Jason Kothari 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 through the end of February 2017.
"With 1.2 billion people and a rapidly growing economy and middle class, India's future as a real estate powerhouse is exceptionally bright, and we're proud to be a part of this expanding sector. Clearly, there is a compelling commercial purpose to the deal, but we also firmly believe in providing transparency, analysis and insight so that all Indian families, regardless of traditional background or means, will have a better understanding of the property market," said News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson.
The joint entity will draw on strengths of PropTiger, Housing.com and Makaan.com to offer a holistic experience to consumers, real estate developments, brokers and homeowners.
PropTiger is the largest online residential real estate brokerage firm, having completed transactions worth $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.
By 2030, India is expected to be the third largest real estate market in the world with the sector contributing to over 15 per cent of national GDP.
Dhruv Agarwala, co-founder and 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. Housing has established itself as a formidable online brand and we admire its consumer centric product innovation. The timing of this deal is just right.''