General Atlantic, the American private equity firm looking to buy a minority stake in funda, wants to oblige the Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents (NVM) to re-purchase shares if the portal's performance starts to lag or if the association abuses its power.
Funda is the leading real estate portal in the Dutch market and one of a dwindling number of portals owned by agent interests. Its most powerful shareholder is the Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents (NVM), which has been accused of using its power to limit market competition and stifle the portal's growth.
The conflict resulted in the departure of funda CEO Quentin Schevernels in 2021 and eventually led to funda seeking outside investment in May 2023. Several bids were considered with General Atlantic ultimately chosen in November thanks to the New York-based firm's experience working with leading European real estate portals including Hemnet, Immoweb, Homegate and ImmoScout24.
Dutch business publication FD.nl claims to have seen details of General Atlantic's offer to funda's shareholders. It claims that the private equity giant wants a mechanism to sell its shares to the NVM if the association's decisions impact the portal's financial performance or overly favour NVM members.
General Atlantic is seeking to include a "put right" option into the proposed deal which would see it acquire a maximum 29.4% interest in the company that runs the portal. Under the proposed deal the NVM would retain a minimum 70% interest in funda.
Both the NVM and General Atlantic declined to reveal to FD any specific questions about the deal but an NVM spokesperson did confirm the existence of the put right clause.
The private equity firm would be buying shares from around 2,200 early agent and brokerage investors. Many have long been keen to cash in on their shares but had been prevented from doing so by NVM's reluctance to allow individual members to sell their shares to outsiders. Shareholders looking to sell to GA have until December 22nd to register their share certificates.