The market-leading portal group idealista, which runs eponymous portals in its home market of Spain as well as Portugal and Italy, has a new majority owner in the form of the Swedish-headquartered investment fund EQT Partners. Idealista Founder and CEO Jesús Encinar will reportedly maintain a minority share in the company and continue to lead the group.
EQT has bought out the 80% controlling share previously hed by British based fund Apax Partners who, as we reported last week, had become frustrated with the lack of progress towards an IPO. Having bought its stake in idealista back in 2015 for what now seems a paltry €235 million, Apax will be able to report a fantastic return on investment to its shareholders who mainly include pension funds. A spokesperson for the investment fund said:
“It has been a pleasure to witness the entrepreneurial spirit and effort, to, day by day, improve the liquidity and functionality of the property portal. We are very proud of idealista’s growth and of the market leadership position that it has reached in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.” [Translated from Spanish]
For its part, EQT will be looking to help its new investment company capitalise and further build on its market position. Carlos Santana, Managing Director of EQT Spain said:
“EQT considers idealista to have the potential to grow at an accelerated rate, with its founder, Jesús, who together with Cesar and Fernando and the executive team will have the backing of EQT to achieve ever bigger expansion in the countries in which idealista operates and consolidate its position of leadership in Southern Europe.” [Translated from Spanish]
According to today’s press release, the negotiations really accelerated last week and an agreement was reached over Zoom late on Tuesday night. The paperwork was signed today in Madrid and is now pending ratification from the Spanish competition commission.