REVEALED: News Corp spent $40 million on its 25% stake in hipages, the tradie marketplace

hipages co-founders David Vitek and Robert Sharon-Zipser(Photo: Supplied)

News Corp Australia announced last month that it had bought a 25% stake in hipages, an Australian online marketplace for tradespeople, for an undisclosed figure.

Two sources familiar with the matter have told Business Insider that News Corp paid $40 million for the stake. This gives hipages total valuation to $160 million.

David Vitek, hipages co-founder and CEO, refused to comment on the investment figure when asked by Business Insider, but he did discuss other aspects of the deal.

Vitek said the transaction took place over around 90 days, with the completion and final papers signed in early December.

Alisa Bowen, the head of digital products at News Corp, and Brett Clegg, managing director of community publishing at News Corp, will now be working closely with hipages and its board in the future.

hipages’ biggest goal for 2016 is to build more brand awareness, which Vitek says the News Corp deal will help with immensely.

While hipages have had strong growth in the online channels – getting over 80,000 jobs a month at the end of 2015, and a projected January 90,000 in January – they still only capture around 1.5-2% of trade jobs.

“News Corp fits in well the brand awareness with their investment which we can use to really up our marketing budget,” Vitek said. “And of course, the capabilities with their media brands.”

2016 is also about improving their product, making things easier for both tradies and customers. hipages also aims to continuously improve its product and disrupt an industry that hasn’t seen change in a long time.

“We want to go into every part of the site and add value,” Vitek said.

“Mainly, we want to make the tradie experience better. The admin side isn’t what they enjoy the most about their job, we want to take away the hassle and make it easier.”

News Corp declined to comment.

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