PBL Buys in on German Real Estate Classifieds Portal

With all of the owes of MyHome you would think it would make PBL a little scared of online investments. Not so, a Consortium consisting of Publishing and Broadcasting Limited and Macquarie Bank today announced that it will acquire 66.2% of Immobilien Scout. This gives the consortium 66.2% for a mere 357 million Euros (about 630 million AUD).

What does it mean for Australia? Well nothing much in the short term but they might ask the Immobilien development and marketing team if they could help with the embattled MyHome.

I must say bI do like these deals – any time an Australian company (consortium) invests overseas, such as what REA have done over the past years shows that we too can play instead of build and sell. As for MyHome, I really do hope they can get their act together as the Australian real estate market really does need some competition.

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  • Dave Platter
    Posted August 17, 2007 at 2:30 pm 0Likes

    (I work at the REA Group)

    Peter, great item.

    I’d like to add to it, if I may.

    PBL/Mr. Packer invested in this German company just a short time after divesting himself of 75% of the company that owns myhome. (That company is called PBL Media; don’t let the name confuse you–it’s majority owned not by PBL but by private equity.)

    You can draw your own conclusions about where Mr. Packer might be focusing his attention these days. What do you think, is it the business he sold or the one he bought into?

    All best.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted August 18, 2007 at 10:04 am 0Likes

    Good Morning,

    I am sure that young James Packer knows what he is doing, and selling out of Myhome makes complete sense to me.

    There are some franchise agents on myhome who are not paying cent, while others have been paying for several months now, and this is just in my local area.

    It seems that Myhome has two rules for the industry. If you are a L.J Hooker franchise you get to advertise for free. For the rest of us, it appears it is our duty to pay immediately.

    The local L.J Hooker office (yes I have been spending a bit of time with them lately) had their listings put on the myhome site by head office. The local office has decided that Myhome is not part of their strategy and wants to come off. Myhome has been keeping their listings there for severeal months for free! Evidently there are many L.J Hooker offices in the same situation, not paying for their Myhome presence.

    When I confronted the Myhome rep with this, I was told that L.J Hooker had a special deal.

    I would encourage each reader here who is subscribing to Myhome to call your Rep and demand to be put on the same deal. Free.


  • snoop
    Posted August 18, 2007 at 7:22 pm 0Likes

    Well whatever Packers motivation and hes a smart businessman and this signals its game on in Europe in terms of serious investment in the space.
    Rea is going to have to spend big and probably raise more money to play with the big boys,this could be dilutive to earnings going forward.

  • TomS
    Posted August 19, 2007 at 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Watch out for REA’s Annual results this week. This will be the best indicator as to how the overseas acquisitions have affected their balance sheet. The numbers on propertyfinder and casa.it will be a good indicator as to whether the Immobilien Scout deal represents a good deal for PBL.
    The German online realestate portal market is relatively fragmented in comparison to the UK or Aussie markets. However, REA is making good progress in Germany, France and Belgium by applying their proven business model to these markets via atHome and leveraging of their UK and Italian operations. This is where the biggest threat will come from for the larger portals in these countries. Not from the Googles, Yahoos or Microsofts of this world.
    As for James Packers business acumen, the jury is still out on his deal to offload most of PBL

  • snoop
    Posted August 19, 2007 at 7:00 pm 0Likes

    I think its interesting
    REA may be the big wheel in Aus ,but they arent in Europe.
    I think they are struggling to get marketshare in the UK market which Rightmove clearly owns.
    Immobilien is clear no1 in Germany.
    Nz small market but not really gaining there.
    What this move does signal is the big bucks are going into these markets and REA is going to need to ask Rupert for some money if they want to play the game.

  • Tom S
    Posted August 19, 2007 at 8:16 pm 0Likes

    As far as the UK, REA are consolidating their position against Rightmove. Based on some

  • snoop
    Posted August 20, 2007 at 3:01 pm 0Likes

    Lost 9mill in the UK according to results out today.
    According to Hitwise not moving from Number 5 for some time.
    Good solid revenue increases though,just goes to show its not easy.
    Other Euro sites very small beer so a long build up without more acquisitions.
    I stand by my view that they will need to ask Uncle Rupert for some more dough.

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