The REA Group, a global online real estate advertising company based in Melbourne, Australia, has acquired an additional 10 percent of Italian real estate site casa.it for $2.44 million (1.5 million euros) from its founder, Antonio Fregnan.

This increases the REA Group’s stake in Italy’s number one real estate portal to 69.4 percent. The acquisition signals the REA Group’s continued belief in the Italian market and its long-term importance.

The remaining 30.6 percent of casa.it is owned by SKY Italia.

"Since we bought the controlling stake in casa.it in February 2007, the business has performed very well and continues to lead all other real estate portals in the country in terms of revenue, paying agents and unique visitors," Simon Baker, CEO and managing director of the REA Group, said.

"While casa.it is still in its early stages of growth, especially when compared with realestate.com.au, we are excited about its long-term prospects in the Italian market."

According to REA Group, more than 8,200 agents were using casa.it in April 2008. The business generated $2.3 million in revenue in the half year ending December 2007, its first complete half year on the REA Group’s books.

The site reached 827,000 unique browsers in April 2008, up 15 percent from February 2008, REA Group reported.

The REA Group has operations in 12 countries, publishes 18 Web sites and eight print publications.

In April, the company expanded its footprint in the United Kingdom with the acquisition of Hotproperty.co.uk. (See Inman News story.)


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