Written by rosalind renshaw

Ambitious newcomer property portal Zoopla has bought Thinkproperty from Guardian Media Group (GMG) for an undisclosed sum.

The purchase comes ahead of Zoopla’s probable acquisition of some or all of Propertyfinder, which is co-owned by News International and the Australian group REA. The owners are prepared to shut down loss-making Propertyfinder if they cannot sell it.

Noticeably, News International – publishers of The Times – appear to have thrown their weight behind free-to-list portal Globrix. However, Globrix are to charge for upgraded services.

Meanwhile, Zoopla are continuing their due diligence process on Propertyfinder.

The sale of Thinkproperty suggests that a second national newspaper group has been considering the value to it of owning a property portal. The deal will certainly be a topic of conversation to the third national newspaper which owns property portals – the  Daily Mail, owners of FindaProperty and Primelocation.

Thinkproperty was originally the consumer-facing rebrand of the Vebra property portal. It was launched before Vebra was acquired by the Guardian. The Guardian then relaunched it as a paid-for portal, before more recently relaunching it once again, making it free to list.

Under the deal, Zoopla will take over and integrate the Thinkproperty website, acquiring its current traffic of what is said to be over 200,000 unique users per month.

Zoopla will also take over as the exclusive property search partner on the Guardian website.

The deal stands to be a win for agents currently listing their properties on Zoopla, who will now gain more exposure and receive more leads as a result of the acquisition, according to Zoopla chief executive Alex Chesterman.
He said: “We are delighted to be leading the latest round of consolidation in this market as it reinforces our mission of delivering the best possible value to estate agents by increasing their exposure to a wider audience and offering them a broader range of services.

“We plan to continue to grow our traffic organically and look at possible further acquisitions as part of our commitment to become the most efficient marketing partner for UK estate agents.”

Mark Goddard, of GMG Property Services, said: “Zoopla has made impressive progress in a crowded marketplace and their success in engaging with the UK property consumer via a differentiated experience reinforces the belief that the UK portal market is still able to be disrupted. The acquisition of Thinkproperty by continues to build on what is becoming a very compelling proposition for the UK estate agent and I wish Alex and his team well.”

Launched only last year as a house price information website for consumers, Zoopla has now turned its attention to estate agents.

It raised almost £4m in extra funding earlier this year. Commentators believe that the purchase of Thinkproperty will not have made much of a dent in that.


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    where on earth do they get their millions from?

    • 23 July 2009 13:30 PM
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    Have a feeling its the publicity Brightmove posts for, hes seldom has anything to add to the blog other than silly comments.

    • 15 July 2009 16:28 PM
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    I'll start the bidding 'Mr Brightmove' how does a shiny pound sound? Seriously this is only to gain some headlines, neither of these sites has much traffic and will not dent the figures of the BIG 2 groups RM and DPG, as for Mike's comment on them being number 2 after this, not a chance.

    • 15 July 2009 15:11 PM
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    Brightmove and Thinkproperty are identical along with many others - i.e. 'me too' portals and online estate agents that have wasted £000s of investors' and founders' money creating websites no one visits and that generate no income and now never will. They are relics of the internet bubble era and will eventually go the same way as most of those companies. They were built because it was cheap to build something - will no real business plan. Globrix will eventually win and there will be a handful of properly funded online estate agents (i.e. no room for TPs or Brightmoves)

    • 15 July 2009 14:59 PM
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    Thanks "Careful Brightmove" for your valued comment. It may well be the case that I may want to have more fun with Brightmove before making a "Tempt Me" offer to Zoopla!

    • 15 July 2009 10:47 AM
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    Careful Mr Brightmove! Zoopla will buy anything and you're next!!!

    Seriously, Thinkproperty had no traffic, why are they buying it? It's so they can make a PR splash and look bigger more quickly to impress their venture capitalist masters.

    Agents who are pinning their hopes (and their homes) on Zoopla to rid them of the evil Rightmove will be sorely disappointed!

    • 15 July 2009 09:40 AM
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    I'd hazard a guess that the ThinkProperty jobs will go the way as many of the Vebra jobs did with all their redundancies over the last few months

    • 15 July 2009 09:34 AM
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    Wonder what's happening to Thinkproperty's existing employees? Any announcement?

    • 15 July 2009 09:28 AM
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    Thinkproperty were an irrelevance in the portal market so I am not sure what the value is. I suggest that the investors in Zoopla simply do not understand what they are doing. Other companies have spent 10's of millions building portals which are now virtually worthless.

    • 15 July 2009 09:26 AM
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    More importantly it raises the question of what future the 1000's of Solex, Craft, GMW and Encore clients now have. Why would Guardian keep hold of them when their perceived Golden Egg has been sold. Clearly it was the whole reason they entered the market

    • 15 July 2009 09:21 AM
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    Zoopla clearly appear to be serious. A £ 1.5M bid for PF and now this ...
    With their own traffic and consolidation of brands - surely they must be No 2 - the standard challenge is can they make any money, as no one else seems to be able to.

    • 15 July 2009 08:04 AM
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    Zoopla clearly appear to be serious. A £ 1.5M bid for PF and now this ...
    With their own traffic and consolidation of brands - surely they must be No 2 - the standard challenge is can they make any money, as no one else seems to be able to.

    • 15 July 2009 08:03 AM