Murdoch Returns To India E-story – Times of India – 26-Nov-2014
November 29, 2014 - Uncategorized
Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corp has picked up a 25% stake in online property brokerage startup PropTiger for $30 million, marking his return to internet investments in India.
Murdoch told TOI that News Corp was excited about its latest investment seeing the tremendous potential in India’s digital marketplace. “I am very bullish about India’s future,” the 83-year-old media mogul told this paper.
Murdoch is placing fresh bets after backing startups like Bazee and Indya.com more than a decade ago. TOI had reported in August that News Corp was engaging with internet startups to step up its digital presence in India.
Existing investors — SAIF Partners, Accel Partners and Horizen Ventures — have put another $7 million into the company, which was started by two Harvard Business School alumni Dhruv Agarwala and Kartik Varma along with Prashan Agarwal in February 2011.
News Corp owns Realtor.com in the US along with holding a 62% stake in REA group, which runs an Australian residential property website and is expanding in south east Asian markets. Its new India investment comes at a time when the domestic consumer internet economy is soaring amid euphoric investor sentiments.
The New York-based media giant, which split its publishing and broadcasting units last year, has been making “targeted investments” in digital assets in south-east Asian markets recently.
News Corp’s senior vice-president of strategy Raju Narisetti, who will sit on the board of the New Delhi-based portal, said News Corp was impressed by the digitization potential in India’s real estate market to create common standards and quality benchmarks in a largely unregulated sector. “We will continue to be open to relevant opportunities that are generally in and around our core information, publishing, education, real estate businesses in India,” Narisetti told TOI in an email.
Agarwala said, “We have seen 10,000 properties worth over $1 billion being purchased through us.” Currently in eight cities, PropTiger plans to spread to 25 cities over the next two years, he said. With the latest round of funding, the portal has raised $44 million since inception.
PropTiger competes with other tech-driven online real estate marketers Housing.com and Commonfloor as well as classifieds players like MagicBricks, owned by the Times Group, which publishes this newspaper, and 99acres among others.