The ASX-listed international classifieds operator Frontier Digital Ventures has today announced that it has entered into a sale agreement to take its equity in the South American property portal company InfoCasas from 51% to 100% for an undisclosed fee.
InfoCasas claims leadership in the property vertical in its native Uruguay as well as in Bolivia and Paraguay and has had a presence in the valuable Peruvian market since 2019. FDV initially paid $1.2m for a 31% stake in the company back in 2017 before paying a reported $3.6m to increase its stake to 51% in December 2019.
InfoCasas CEO Ricardo Frechou said of the deal:
“I am very proud of what we have achieved with FDV to build InfoCasas into the market-leading business it is today. The strategic oversight, operational guidance, collective knowledge and global network of FDV and its team has been incredibly helpful to fast track our growth. I look forward to continuing this journey with FDV in the coming years as InfoCasas continues to go from strength to strength.”
Since FDV's initial investment, InfoCasas has become something of a poster child among the company's extensive global portfolio representing one of the firm's strongest businesses operating on a self-sustaining basis with positive EBITDA and strong revenue growth. Like many up and coming property marketplaces in emerging markets, InfoCasas has a business model which sees it operate closer to the transaction than traditional online classifieds, maintaining commercial relationships with new home developers to sell their real estate directly.
FDV now fully owns three market-leading portal operators in the region having acquired Yapo in Chile as well as Fincaraíz in Colombia from Adevinta last year. The firm also has a 26.3% interest in Central American horizontal marketplace leader Encuentra24 (but this subject to a call option from OLX which can be exercised over the next two years). InfoCasas also has a partnership with Brazilian digital property agency AoCubo the terms of which include a 3-year option to acquire a 20% stake in the transactional business.
Together FDV's interests in Latin America now represent what CEO Shaun Di Gregorio called "a unique and diversified exposure to 12 highly attractive markets across Latin America."
This latest FDV deal makes it one of the largest classifieds operators in Latin America where the company will compete with the likes of Argentinian giants Navent and Mercado Libre. With the completion of the InfoCasas deal, FDV sees its M&A activity in the region to be done for now and will turn its attentions elsewhere, indeed Australian VC firm and FDV backer Vesparum Capital described the deal as "a wonderful transaction for FDV’s shareholders which essentially ties a bow around their South American assets".
According to Di Gregorio, the company will now shift its attention to "Developing Asia" where its portfolio already includes Philippino property marketplace Hoppler as well as leading property portals in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
Watch our recent interview with Shaun Di Gregorio from our 'State of Investment in Classifieds' series here