Roxtar Group | September 11th 2020
EQT Buys Idealista for €1.3bn
The Swedish Multinational Investment Organisation Aims to Shift Southern Europe's Online Property Market
By Alexander Engebretsen, Managing Director
The Madrid-based property portal Idealista closes a €1.3bn deal with EQT Partners. The Swedish private equity group wants to shift southern Europe's online property market towards what Rightmove and Zoopla have done in the UK. Idelista's value has risen more than five times since the €235m valuation done in 2015 by its current owner, Apax. The company operates in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and had a €50m revenue in 2019, making the current valuation multiple 25 times higher. Global co-head of telecoms, media, and technology at EQT, Bert Janssen, noted that these countries "have historically been running behind Europe in the transition from offline to online listings". Janssen believes there still is much growth left and is happy to pay a "good but reasonable price", he said.
Being among the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic, Spain and Italy have implemented strict lockdowns. Janssen believes the crisis might help stimulate new home sales because people now understand how they potentially need to change their living situation. Apax developed Idealista from roughly 300 employees to more than 750 partly by acquiring other property portals and has completed three acquisitions this year alone. The coronavirus brought an end to a years-long tide in mergers and investment activity earlier this year. However, this deal shows how private equity groups are still willing to strike deals at hefty valuations regardless of the global economic situation.
EQT's ninth private equity fund, the first since its initial public offering last year, has a target size of €14.75bn and was used to complete this transaction. As other investment organizations have held back, EQT has been one of the most active European private equity groups since the pandemic outbreak and has already invested 10 to 15 percent of its target figure. In April, EQT bought Air Liquide's hand sanitiser and disinfectant business for roughly €900m. Since then, EQT has also acquired EdgeConneX and Freepik.