And there it is again, a fresh report stating that Housing.com is back on sale, and this time, its SoftBank which is pushing Snapdeal to buy the ever-in-news, struggling real-estate platform for close to $100 Million.
The report this time, comes from The Hindu BusinessLine, stating that Snapdeal is in final stages of closing the deal to acquire Housing. It further suggests that the talk started since December last year and the deal could worth $50-100 million.
However, it is not yet clear whether Snapdeal will completely acquire Housing or pick up a majority stake in the company and let it run as an independent entity.
The deal, if completed, will benefit Housing in a massive way, as it not only gets access to Snapdeal’s massive capital, but also a direct access to millions of its customers. It will also help the real-estate portal to compete with new entrants in this domain, such as Quikr and Olx. The online real-estate business is currently being 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.
Several reports suggest that investors SoftBank and Nexus Venture Partners are trying to make the deal go through with Snapdeal. Both have invested in Housing.com as well as in Snapdeal. Also, Snapdeal’s founders — Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal — were early angel investors in Housing.com.
In January, when the reports emerged that Snapdeal is in talks to acquire Housing.com, the company had categorically denied any such development. A spokesperson for Housing.com said:
The company is performing very well and we are steadily moving towards becoming the most trusted platform to buy and sell homes in India. We are not in any talks with Snapdeal for a sale.
Housing.com, which was started in 2012 to solve the problem of house search, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It started with its founder Rahul Yadav’s public spat with Sequioa Capital and his exit from the company, followed by massive lay-off, senior members departing, founders leaving company, closing down several of its business units, etc.
Out of the original twelve founders, only three of them are currently with Housing – with non of them holding a board position. While most of the founding team has left the company, it has somehow managed to attract executives for top level management, in order to keep the company afloat. To continue its operations, the company also raised Rs. 100 crore from Softbank in what was seen, as a sort of bailing amount to help sustain the company. At one point, the valuation of Housing.com stood at Rs 1,500 crore.
In one of the major consolidation in the real estate space this year, online classified portal Quikr acquired real estate portal CommonFloor in a $200-million all-stock deal stitched by Tiger Global, common investor in both Quikr and CommonFloor. In April, real estate portal PropTiger.com acquired Makaan.com for an undisclosed sum to create a common platform.