Asserta home and propertyfinder join forces

Article date: 3 August 2001

Propertyfinder.co.uk has joined asserta home in a deal thatcombines the UK’s leading upmarket property website with theUK’s leading national home-buying portal.

The two sites will continue to operate under separate brands andweb addresses, and have links to each other, offering home-sellersthe broadest market for their homes. Homebuyers will have thelargest choice of properties online with access to assertahome’s 200,000 properties nationwide andpropertyfinder’s 105,000 upmarket properties with a combinedestimated property value of £40bn. The group will be the biggestsingle source of online referrals to estate agents in the UK, andboth companies will strengthen their positions as the clear leadersin a rapidly consolidating market.

The deal means that propertyfinder.co.uk is now acquired byasserta holdings Limited, which also owns asserta home, and is theculmination of an intensive investigation by each into the bestconsolidation opportunities. CGNU plc will continue to have amajority share in asserta holdings, whilst introducingpropertyfinder’s majority shareholders – HamptonsInternational and Arts Alliance – to the board as minorityshareholders. Significant development of both brands is planned inorder to meet the needs of their respective markets goingforward.

The combined entity will be headed up by David Lundholm,recently appointed as managing director of asserta holdingsLimited. James and Nicholas Leeming, who foundedpropertyfinder.co.uk in 1995, will continue in the new venture intheir current roles.

Commenting on the move David Lundholm said,“propertyfinder is an excellent company with a strong brand,well-established relationships with many of the UK’s leadingestate agents and an upmarket audience. Joining forces enhances ourability to make the home-finding, -buying, -moving and livingexperience more simple and less stressful for our users”.

Rupert Morley, formerly CEO of propertyfinder.co.uk, whobrokered the deal on their behalf, said: “This is great newsfor propertyfinder’s shareholders, estate agents andconsumers. asserta will have the resources to significantlyincrease the exposure of the propertyfinder.co.uk brand and investin technology. There is only going to be one winner in thismarketplace and having considered a number of alternative partnerswe found that asserta has the best vision, most reliabletechnology, most dynamic management and most credible shareholders.It is also the leader in traffic, listings and branding. In twelvemonths’ time I expect the property portal industry to lookvery different as a result.”

The online property market has experienced rapid growth in userlevels over the last 12 months, with agents reporting up to 50% oftheir transactions originating online, and this trend is expectedto continue. The deal with propertyfinder.co.uk follows threeprevious acquisitions by asserta Holdings Ltd in the last 18 months– UKPG, GMW software and Smove. Subsidiary asserta home hasalso developed partnerships with other leading dotcom players suchas Improveline, Charcol online, and Schooolsnet.

For further information please contact:

Joanna Burton
asserta home
T: 0207 922 5035
M: 07715 163 914
E: joanna_burton@assertahome.com

Tina Muggridge/Laura Hastings
Lansons Communications
T: 0207 490 8828
M: 07961 864631
E: tinam@lansons.com; laurah@lansons.com

Charlie Snell
propertyfinder.co.uk
T: 020 8939 2307
M: 07979 601 434
E: charlie.snell@propertyfinder.co.uk

About asserta home

asserta home is the UK’s leading home-buying portal.asserta home (www.assertahome.com) aims to make home-buying andmoving simpler and less stressful by providing the largest,up-to-date database of properties for sale or rent, invaluableinformation and advice, and a selection of quality, moving- relatedservices.

The database, which is updated daily and contains details onover 200,000 properties, can be searched with a choice of 16 searchcriteria, e.g. price, location, schools etc. asserta home will sende-mail or SMS messages to alert users that a new property, meetingspecific requirements, has just been added to the database.

asserta home is a one-stop-shop for the entire moving process.It includes details of a selection of quality services providingmortgages, surveys, removals, change of address, neighbourhoodinformation as well as advice on interior design and DIY. assertahome partners with AOL, Altavista, Excite, Freeserve, Yell andLycos.

asserta home launched in May 2000 and is an independent businesspreviously funded solely by CGNU.

Key Statistics

Monthly page impressions5.9 million*
Monthly unique visitors219,000
Ave. number of pages viewed17 per visit
Estate agentsAlmost 5,500 branches
*Audited in April, 2001

About asserta holdings asserta holdings Limited is thecore company in the asserta group — the market leader in theonline property and estate agency services market. The assertagroup comprises:

  • asserta home Limited - the UK’s leading home buyingportal,
  • propertyfinder.co.uk – the UK’s leading top-endhome buying portal,
  • GMW - the leading provider of estate agency software solutionsand
  • asserta business – the group’s new estate agentB2B property portal

About CGNU CGNU plc is the UK’s largest insurancegroup and one of the top five insurers in Europe with substantialpositions in other markets around the world, making it theworld’s sixth largest insurer based on gross worldwidepremiums.

About propertyfinder.co.uk

Propertyfinder.co.uk was founded in 1995 by chartered surveyorsNick and James Leeming as Internet Property Finder Ltd (IPF). ByJuly 2000 it had 20,000 properties from 200 clients.

The company received a £5.5m backing from a consortium ofventure capitalists led by Arts Alliance and HamptonsInternational.

Today the company has 105,000 properties with a combined valueof £24bn, from over 2,300 estate agents offices, including some ofthe UK’s best-known names: Hamptons, John D Wood, Winkworth,Foxtons, Andrews, Peter Alan, Whitegates, Keith Pattinson, PalmerSnell, Goadsby and Harding, Greenslade Taylor Hunt, Legal &General Franchising and many more.

Key Statistics

Monthly page impressions2.7 million
Monthly unique visitors69,469
Ave. number of pages viewed14 per visit
Estate agentsAlmost 2,500 branches

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