In SA, PrivateProperty strikes a new deal

04 Oct 2017

South Africa’s second-biggest property vertical PrivateProperty.co.za announced a new deal almost one year after it had announced its intention to get in bed with Property24 of Naspers – a proposed deal which never materialized.

PrivateProperty belongs to One Africa Media (OAM). It released a news release on Tuesday (October 3) confirming that PrivateProperty will be sold to a consortium of South African buyers, which includes Caxton, a media company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). (The other members are still unknown.) 

PrivateProperty also confirmed that it won’t go ahead with the proposed deal with Naspers-owned Property24.

We reported on the proposed deal, which was subject to Competition Commision approval, in November 2016.

It’s possible that PrivateProperty may have been unhappy with the terms of the Naspers deal and that the company would have had to sacrifice autonomy. In the news release, PrivateProperty CEO Simon Bray said: “We are really pleased that we could conclude a deal that maintains our independence and affords us the opportunity to enhance the role that technology can play in the real estate industry.” 

PrivateProperty’s parent company OAM announced a merger with Swiss media group Ringier in May 2016, but PrivateProperty was left out of the deal, making it available for purchase. There is still no word on when the OAM/Ringier deal will be finalized.

This new PrivateProperty deal is also still subject to the approval of the Competition Commission South Africa, but probably stands a much better chance of going through, because this time around OAM sought input from the industry body Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA). 

Bray said, the new deal will help ensure “a vibrant competitive environment with at least two big platforms offering advertising services”.

They are expecting to finalize the deal by the end of October. 

While Caxton is primarily a printing and publishing company, they also own the relatively small auto vertical AutoDealer.co.za and the general classifieds site Hozi.co.za, which was launched early last year.

AutoDealer sees 334,000 visits per month in comparison to the leading South African auto vertical AutoTrader‘s 1.7 million, for example (according to SimilarWeb). Hozi also sees roughly the same number, while the leading general classified site, EBay-owned Gumtree.co.za, sees about 5.9 million visits.

With very few other digital offerings in its stable (the others are MoneyWeb and Guzzle), it’s possible that Caxton is looking to expand its digital footprint. Buying the country’s second-largest property site will allow it to do that quickly.

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Louisa Steyl

I'm a former Media24 journalist and editor with almost nine years of experience in a community newspaper newsroom. I now write news articles, features, press releases, biographies and SEO content.