Venture capital fund increases shareholding in asserta

Article date: 25 March 2003

asserta holdings limited (‘asserta’), operators ofassertahome.com, the UK’s largest independent property portaland propertyfinder.co.uk, the website for premier property,announce a near-doubling of revenues for 2002 to £2m and changeswithin its shareholder base.

As asserta approaches the important milestone of cash breakeven,an Investor Group led by Arts Alliance Digital Ventures III hassubstantially increased its stake by purchasing part of theshareholding held by NUPFS Limited, a company within the Aviva plcgroup of companies, the UK’s largest insurer, who will retaina minority stake of approximately 20%. The Investor Group alsoincludes existing shareholder Hamptons International and seniormanagement.

Laurent Laffy, Partner at Arts Alliance Advisors, whoseportfolio includes investments in lastminute.com andchateauonline.com, said: “For several years, we haverecognised the potential for property portals to deliver excellentvalue to both estate agents and their customers. Our increasedshareholding enables us to participate in the success that webelieve asserta will enjoy as the portals continue to gainrecognition as a highly cost-effective way for estate agents topromote themselves and service their customers.”

David Lundholm, managing director of asserta holdings Limited,said: ”asserta is profiting from unparalleled interest in theproperty market with strong customer growth and increasingrevenues. While some sectors in the housing markets show signs ofcooling, our growing customer base, strong cash position andimpending cash breakeven mean we look forward to the future withgreat confidence. I will be working even more closely with ourshareholders to ensure all our customers enjoy the best possibleservice.”

asserta’s revenues have increased significantly over thepast 12 months, following the successful introduction of listingfees for estate agents who use both assertahome.com andpropertyfinder.co.uk. This is supported by increased commercialrevenues as well as sales of GMW software, which is used by morethan 5000 estate agents to manage their property inventory andupload property details to the internet.

Funds advised by Arts Alliance and leading estate agencyHamptons International have had a minority shareholding sinceAugust 2001 when asserta holdings acquired propertyfinder.co.ukfrom them.

About asserta holdings

  • asserta holdings Limited is the holding company in the assertagroup — the market leader in the online property and estateagency technology market.
  • The asserta group comprises:
    • assertahome.com - the UK’s most popular propertywebsite,
    • propertyfinder.co.uk – the place for premierproperties,
    • GMW - the leading provider of estate agency managementsoftware

About assertahome.com

  • assertahome.com is the national property portal forindependent estate agents. It aims to make moving simpler and lessstressful by providing the largest, independent, up-to-datedatabase of properties for sale or rent, invaluable informationand advice, and all the essential moving-related services.
  • The database is updated regularly by over 2,500 estate agentsand contains details on thousands of residential properties.Consumers can search by price and area and print off details of aproperty they are interested in or send the details to theirmobile phone. They can also choose to click through to the estateagent’s own website, e-mail or telephone the agent directly,or even contact a group of agents with one click. assertahome.comwill send e-mail or SMS messages to alert users that a newproperty, meeting specific requirements, has just been added tothe database.
  • assertahome.com is an essential resource for the movingprocess. Packed with information and guidance, the site featuresdetails of a selection of services including mortgages andinsurance, surveys, neighbourhood information and the UK’sfirst conveyancing supermarket. It partners with the UK’slargest ISP’s BTOpenworld, AOL, and Freeserve, and majorportals including Yell and Lycos to provide content for theirproperty channels.

Key statistics

  • Estate agents More than 2,500 offices
  • User sessions per month 610,000
  • Unique users each month 340,000

About propertyfinder.co.uk

  • Propertyfinder.co.uk is the place for premier properties. Thewebsite is designed for experienced homebuyers and sellers tosearch from a database of upmarket properties. It has the highestaudience of any premium property site according to Nielsen NetRatings in December 2002.
  • Propertyfinder.co.uk has an exclusive audience who are in theprocess of moving. Customers can search by price and location thenchoose to e-mail an estate agent directly from the site or clickthrough to the agents own website. 68 per cent of visitors havecontacted an estate agent about a property they saw on the websiteand two thirds of them expect to find their next home on aproperty portal rather than in the press.
  • Propertyfinder.co.uk advertises in the property sections ofthe broadsheet press and quality magazines as well as havingdistribution alliances with leading ISPs including BTOpenworld andupmarket news sites such as Telegraph.co.uk and ft.com.

Key statistics

  • Estate agents More than 600 offices
  • User sessions 350,000 per month
  • Unique users 200,000 per month

For further information please contact:

Joanna Burton
PR Manager,
asserta
E-mail: Joanna.burton@asserta.com
T 020 7922 5035
F 020 7922 5041

Adam Valkin,
Arts Alliance
E-mail: adam@artsalliance.co.uk
T 020 7934 4036

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