REA India reflects the name of the Australia-based parent company REA Group, which bought a controlling stake of 61% in Elara Technologies in October. This move gave REA Group five out of nine seats on the board. News Corp, which is a shareholder in REA Group, had exclusive stakes in Elara too, the company announced.
“A key pillar of REA’s long-term growth strategy is expanding into large growth markets. Our strong presence in India provides REA Group with exposure to one of the world’s most attractive economies and complements our existing footprint in Australia, Asia and North America,” said REA Group CEO Owen Wilson.
“The residential real estate market in India presents enormous growth opportunities on the back of rapid digital adoption. Leveraging the combined talent and expertise of REA Group and REA India, we have an exciting roadmap, fueled by the delivery of highly personalized consumer experiences, to become the clear number one digital real estate business in India,” Wilson added.
REA India will continue to operate as a separate entity under the leadership of Dhruv Agarwala, the group CEO of Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.
“In the new avatar, we will solidify our position as the digital real estate platform of choice in India. The new branding will provide us with a strong brand legacy, backed by cutting-edge technology. We will continue to serve our customers with the same passion and expand our presence in the promising real estate market in India,” said Agarwala.
“The pandemic has elevated the market need for technology and revolutionized the manner in which consumers are finding and purchasing real estate. This quick and transformative shift has led to accelerated digital adoption and the need for digitally-enabled full-stack services that are core to our business strategy. Our objective is to optimize our offerings around this shift and build a more engaging and transparent platform for our user base, with support from REA Group’s team,” Agarwala added.
The controlling stake acquisition was fueled by Elara’s struggles amid the pandemic-induced downturn in the real estate sector in India. REA Group paid off Elara’s debt through a combination of cash and shares totaling up to $107 million. The transaction was expected to close by 2021, with REA Group paying $34.5 million to pay off 50% of Elara’s debt and News Corp paying $34.5 million to pay off the remaining 50%, increasing the latter’s shareholding from 22.1% to 38.9%.
Following the rebranding, REA India will operate PropTiger, launched in 2011; Makaan.com, acquired by Elara in 2015; and Housing.com, founded in 2012 and acquired by Elara in 2017. PropTiger was recently in news following the launch of an immersive home-buying site, and Housing.com launched end-to-end rental services in January.