Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Fairfax buys Occupancy.com - owns online vacation rental market in Australia

News out this morning that vacation rental and short let group Occupancy.com has been bought by media company Fairfax. Occupancy will now be combined with Stayz.com to form the clear and unambiguous number one in the vacation rental/short let online market in Australia. According to the SMH the sale was for $29.1mm. The Australian says this is made up of $17.9mm in cash and $11.2mm in shares in the combined entity. The shareholders of Occupancy will retain 10% of the shares in the combined group. Does this mean the combined entity is valued at $112mm??? (will need to investigate).

Sites in the combined group will include Stayz, Rentahome and Takeabreak. Early news is that it will be combined with the NZ businesses for Fairfax holidayhomes.co.nz and Bookit.co.nz. Not sure what it means for Travelbug.

This is a big move.The Combined Stayz and Occupancy likely have 60-66% of the market for online vacation rental and short lets in Australia. With Yahoo7's TotalTravel second and Realholidays (subsidiary of Real Estate.com.au) a very distant third.

I will do more analysis later - hopefully including an interview with someone at Occupancy. For background:
Still to find out:
  • Who will do what in the new company? Note Kirsty Shaw used to be the GM of Stayz. Now her Linkedin profile says Director Strategy and operations - Transactions Division at Fairfax Digital (though the linkedin dates say this change has been in place for more than a year);
  • What will happen to each of the three brands?;
  • Where does this fit with other travel assets like Travelbug in Nz; and
  • Will the 10% ownership by founders of Occupany and the restructure at Fairfax itself mean anything in terms of the massive cross promotion that Stayz gets from Fairfax sites?


Steve sherlock said...

Wow what a estute move to merge takeabreak and occupancy.

$29mil is certainly a premium on the $12m price of stays.

Guess it goes to show, hard work, focus and persistence can pay off big time.

Congrats all round!

South Coast NSW hotels said...

The map and region links navigation is fantastic in the website. Being able to scroll the photos without going to the detail page is great. The detail pages themselves are great. By the way thanks for the useful information, now I have an idea on how a vacation rentals goes so far. I’m not a business minded but after reading this article it seems interested to me. Actually getting the right prices in the case of Home Away, you may have a rate scheme that incorporates midweek days, weekends, full weeks, and min lengths of stay. If you want to stay for one and a half weeks, there's some math’s to do and a lot to consider -- for one, what if the stay also crosses tariffs and therefore has a combination of different price levels on top of those midweek and weekend prices.

Holiday Rentals said...

Just came across this older article.

It will be interesting to see which direction the deal will go in, and what will happen with the rental landscape with new players emerging and older ones expanding.