Snapdeal, the online marketplace, is in the final stages of acquiring online real-estate firm Housing.com. The talks for the deal were on since December and the deal could be finalised for $50-$100 million.
According to the people familiar to the news, Housing.com had begun discussions with Snapdeal as well as News Corp, which is a backer of rival PropTiger, for a strategic stake sale, as the Mumbai-based company searches for backers to recover from a year of turmoil which has hurt its standing in the online real estate market.
SoftBank, a common investor in both the companies and the largest investor in Housing.com, has facilitated the deal. Nexus Venture Partners has also invested in both Snapdeal and Housing.com. Snapdeal’s founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal are also angel investors in the digital real-estate firm. Bahl had met the Housing board earlier this year.
However, it is not clear whether Snapdeal will completely acquire the Mumbai-based portal or pick up a majority stake in it and let it run independently. Market watchers say that Snapdeal’s acquisition of Housing looks logical given the fact that the former has a huge data base which can be leveraged to run Housing’s business.
It will also help the Housing compete with new entrants such as Quikr and Olx. So far the online real-estate business is dominated by players like 99acres and Magicbricks.com.
For Snapdeal, this could be one more vertical — and a major one at that — added to the list of e-commerce offerings it provides. The company just ventured into bus/flight booking as well, making intentions of a diversified platform, pretty much clear. Snapdeal is already trying to strengthen real estate segment on its platform to differentiate itself from Amazon and Flipkart. For this, it recently partnered with property consultant JLL India’s Residential Services division and Tata Housing.
The talks, which these sources described as ‘nascent’ could result in a deal by the second quarter of 2016 and the final contours will depend on the embattled company’s ability to demonstrate growth in its so-called ‘buy and sell’ business, which allows users to not just find property but engage in a transaction online.