3i has invested GBP2 million to support consolidation within the UK’s online property sector. In early October Homemovers, the UK’s largest property website, announced that it would come together with property channel and content provider Property-On-Line to create a company valued at GBP17 million. The merger followed shortly after the two companies won a major contract to provide property content for the beeb.com portal.
The merged entity will trade as Property-On-Line and aims to become a global player, providing both technology and content to portals and ISPs. Property-On-Line has also developed full Applications Service Provision solutions for the estate agency industry, which will enable estate agents to outsource their IT and Internet requirements to third parties.
Collin Willis of 3i says: “This merger represents a coming together of two players within the sector who are already successful in their own right. The skills of the two companies are complementary. We believe that this deal will create a powerful organisation that will be well placed to create a market-leading position”.
Meanwhile, Property-On-Line managing director Michael Coyne claims: “We are unique within the industry because we have a business model that will deliver profits within a relatively short time-frame, which is highly unusual within the new economy”.