CoStar Group, the parent company of real estate data giant CoStar, has made an offer to acquire OnThe Market, the third most visited residential property portal in the United Kingdom.
The announcement bolsters the claim that CoStar is “playing for keeps in the residential real estate market.” The company offered to acquire the U.K. portal for £1.10 per share in cash, amounting to approximately £100 million in total, according to the press release.
“We believe the acquisition of OnTheMarket represents an attractive and efficient entry point into the £8 trillion United Kingdom residential property market,” Andy Florance, founder and CEO of CoStar Group, said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome the OnTheMarket team to the CoStar Group family.”
Founded by a group of agents in 2013, OnThe Market is headquartered in London and has approximately 180 employees. It competes with two other major U.K.-based portals Rightmove and Zoopla and went public in January 2015. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2023, revenue was approximately £35 million, with adjusted EBITDA of £8 million, according to the company website.
“We are very much looking forward to joining the CoStar Group residential network,” Jason Tebb, CEO of OnTheMarket said in a statement. “From a position of strength, the partnership will significantly accelerate our strategy with a clear target of becoming the market leader. Together we share a long history and strong commitment to agents, who will benefit from CoStar’s commitment to maintaining our fair and sustainable pricing model and greater opportunities to enhance their businesses.”
CoStar’s path towards residential real estate
CoStar Group has a track record of acquiring residential property portals. The company acquired Apartments.com in 2014, at the time the fifth-place U.S. residential rental platform. In 2021, it acquired Homes.com, the sixth-place residential property portal in the U.S and turned it into the No. 2 most visited platform, trailing only stalwart Zillow.
In September, Homes.com recorded over 100 million unique monthly visitors, HousingWire reported. It was a 1290% increase over the year prior, according to the firm. Meanwhile, Realtor.com and Redfin respectively reported 74 million unique monthly visitors and 52 million unique visitors in all of Q2 2023.
About the deal
In the first year of the integration, CoStar plans to invest £46.5 million into sales and marketing, exceeding OnTheMarket’s current annual media budget by six times and more than triple Rightmove’s budget. This initial investment is only one piece of a multi-year investment program. In total, the plan would amount to hundreds of millions of pounds, according to the press release.
The transaction, which is dependent on shareholder approval as well as customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023. CoStar will most likely discuss the OnTheMarket acquisition during its third quarter 2023 earnings call scheduled on October 24, 2023.