REA Group has officially divested of its Hong Kong-based listings platform, but this isn’t the first time the online real estate advertising company has tried to part ways with the asset.
This week’s announcement of the sale of squarefoot.com.hk to 28Hse, another online listings portal serving Hong Kong, was accompanied by the distinct feeling of deja vu.
After purchasing Square Foot and its sibling company, Primedia, in 2007 in a deal reported to have cost $4.8 million, REA Group sold off squarefoot.com.hk to Malaysia-based company iProperty in December of 2014 in exchange for $15 million in iProperty company shares. The deal increased REA Group’s shareholding in the Malaysian entity to 19.9 per cent.
Roughly a year later, REA’s February 2016 acquisition of iProperty in its entirety brought squarefoot.com.hk back into the fold when it purchased the parent company for $578 million.
REA’s decision to sell off the company in which it ultimately had a long-running stake comes after a strategic review designed to “streamline its footprint in the Asian region by focusing on existing investments in REA India and PropertyGuru Group”.
Henry Ruiz, REA Group’s chief strategy officer, has commented on the company’s decision to tighten its purview in the region.
“REA Group sees great potential in the long-term opportunities across our global network. This includes our majority shareholding in REA India and our strategic partnership with PropertyGuru Group,” Mr Ruiz said.
“These dynamic regions, which are experiencing rapid digitisation of the real estate sector, present exciting growth prospects.”
And he noted that 28Hse was well placed to steer the company going forward.
“28Hse is a well-established business that has been operating its real estate portal in Hong Kong for over 10 years. As a result of this transaction, the Squarefoot assets will allow 28Hse to expand its offering to customers and consumers.”
The deal sets out a one-month transition period where REA Group will continue to operate the squarefoot.com.hk platform to ensure a smooth transition.
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Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.