REA buys online share accommodation site Flatmates for $25 million

Photo: Harry Engels/Getty Images

The REA Group, the owner of realestate.com.au, is paying $25 million for flatmates.com.au so it can get a foot in the share accommodation market.

The plan is to take the Australian site international.

Flatmates, which started in 1990, is Australia’s biggest share accommodation website with an average of 2.6 million visits and more than 9 million flatmate searches a month.

“We know there is enormous growth in the sharing economy,” says REA CEO Tracey Fellows.

“The share accommodation segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the Australian property market with traffic across the sector growing at over 50% year-on-year.

“The move is consistent with our purpose of making property simple and stress free.”

Flatmates co-founders Thomas Clement and Andrew Maloney say the acquisition by REA is an exciting and natural progression for Flatmates. Thomas will continue in his role as CEO of Flatmates.

REA, about 60% owned by News Corp, last year bought iProperty’s group of real estate sites in South East Asia for about $580 million.

In its latest half year results, REA lifted profits 34% to $95 million. Revenue was up 25% to $261.5 million for the six months to December.

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