HomeAway, a Austin, Texas-based online marketplace for vacation rentals, said Wednesday that it has acquired Stayz Group for approximately $198 million in cash. The seller was Fairfax Digital, a subsidiary of Fairfax Media. Stayz is the publisher of Stayz.com.au and an online vacation rental marketplace in Australia. HomeAway is backed by Austin Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners, Trident Capital, American Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures and Google Ventures.
HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY), the world’s leading online marketplace for vacation rentals, aannounced today it has acquired Stayz Group, the publisher of Stayz.com.au and the leading online vacation rental marketplace in Australia. The Stayz Group, which also includes Rentahome.com.au, TakeABreak.com.au, and YesBookIt, was purchased from Fairfax Digital, a division of Fairfax Media Limited [ASX:FJX], for approximately US$198 million in an all-cash transaction. Stayz, which generated AU$25.4 million in revenue in its last fiscal year 2013 (ended in June 2013), has long employed a commission-based business model, which produces the majority of its revenue.
“The acquisition of Stayz adds 33,000 additional Australian-based properties to the HomeAway network. It also provides HomeAway a strong momentum to our newly-launched pay-per-booking business, something Stayz has worked over the years to optimize,” says HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples. “Additionally, they have demonstrated that a vacation rental business can generate attractive margins operating on primarily a pay-per-booking model, and we look forward to learning from their team.”
The acquisition of Stayz continues HomeAway’s investment and reach into the Asia Pacific region. In 2011 the company purchased the vacation rental business from REA Group Limited and subsequently launched HomeAway.com.au and in 2012 made a minority investment in China-based vacation rental company, Tujia.com. HomeAway acquired majority control of short-term rental site travelmob.com in July of this year and made a majority purchase of New-Zealand-based vacation rental site, Bookabach, last month.
Founded in 2001, and purchased by Fairfax Media in 2005, the Stayz business has grown into a portfolio of sites that generate both subscription and performance-based revenues from properties operated by owners and property managers. Stayz traffic outsizes their next biggest competitor by almost 8-to-1, generating strong levels of customer satisfaction for both owners and travelers.
“HomeAway is absolutely the perfect partner for us,” says Anton Stanish, General Manager for Stayz. “By joining forces, our customers benefit from the global reach and technology leadership HomeAway can provide as the region’s and the world’s largest vacation rental company.”
The business and its 40-person team will continue to operate from its headquarters in Sydney and will be managed by Stanish. It is expected that Stayz’ inventory will be integrated into HomeAway’s pay-per-booking inventory in the US and Europe to generate additional traffic for Stayz properties from international markets.
Conference Call & Webcast Information
HomeAway will host a conference call for investors today, Wednesday, December 4, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. To participate in the conference call, investors should join ten minutes prior to the scheduled start time. Callers in the United States and Canada should join by dialing (877) 874-1565, passcode 2879092. Callers outside the United States and Canada should join by dialing (719) 325-4870, passcode 2879092. In addition, a live webcast of the call will be accessible through the Investor Relations section of HomeAway’s website at http://investors.homeaway.com and will be archived online for 60 days upon completion of the conference call.
For those unable to participate during the live broadcast, a telephonic replay of the call will also be available from 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time on December 4, 2013 until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 18, 2013 by dialing (877) 870-5176, passcode 2879092, in the United States and Canada or (858) 384-5517 outside the United States and Canada, passcode 2879092.
About Fairfax Media:
Fairfax Media is a leading multi-platform media company in Australia and New Zealand. The group comprises metropolitan, rural, regional and community mastheads that offer high-quality, independent journalism and dynamic venues for commerce and information. Fairfax operates five business divisions: Australian Publishing Media, Domain, Digital Ventures, Fairfax Radio and Fairfax New Zealand. Australian Publishing Media has four publishing units – News Media, Business Media, Life Media and Australian Community Media – that generate content across all media platforms for major mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Land, The Australian Financial Review, The Canberra Times, brisbanetimes.com.au, WAtoday.com.au, among many others, as well niche websites such as essentialbaby.com.au and thevine.com.au. The APM division also produces prestigious conferences and events that attract large-scale, highly-engaged audiences and community participation.