Old lady gets new home for €50m

28 Jul 2006

Property portal MyHome.ie has been bought by The Irish Times for up to €50 million.

The deal will see an initial payment of €40m for the site by The Irish Times Ltd, which publishes the The Irish Times, followed by an additional €10 million to be paid over five years. This payment is linked to targets set out in the business plan for MyHome.

Under the deal, MyHome will continue on a stand-alone basis but, according to Maeve Donovan, managing director of The Irish Times, will avail of “revenue and operational synergies which can be brought by The Irish Times Group”.

“Combining MyHome with the strength of The Irish Times newspaper and our online operations in Ireland.com creates a dynamic force for growth in the Irish online property market,” she continued.

She said the acquisition was part of The Irish Times’s strategy of developing a major digital media business and confirmed that the former MyHome.ie shareholders — Ireland’s three largest estate agents of Sherry FitzGerald, Douglas Newman Good and Gunne Residential — will continue to advertise on the site.

Sherry FitzGerald holds a 25pc stake, while the other two agents have 20pc stakes, as does AIB. Employees and other investors hold the remaining shares.

Chief executive Jim Miley, who is also a shareholder, will continue to manage the business.

MyHome.ie was founded in 2001 by the three estate agents. It is used by more than 850 estate agents to advertise and is visited by more than 300,000 users each month.

The property site reported earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation of €2m on turnover of €5m in 2005. These are expected to increase to €2.5m and €6.2m respectively this year.

By Niall Byrne