It emerged today that Independent News & Media (INM) has agreed to acquire the largest internet property website in Northern Ireland, PropertyNews.com, for an undisclosed sum. The website covers Northern Ireland and the border counties in the Republic of Ireland.
PropertyNews.com’s database lists some 20,000 properties that are for sale, of which 4,000 are in the Republic. Around 99pc of estate agents in Northern Ireland list their properties on the site, which was launched in 1998.
As well as buying the website, INM has also acquired the company’s monthly PropertyNews newspaper, which is distributed to more than 200 estate agents’ offices.
Sir Anthony O’Reilly, chief executive of INM, commented: “The combination of PropertyNews.com and INM’s online and newspaper operations will allow the group to offer estate agents and home owners an unrivalled package.
“PropertyNews.com has gained broad industry recognition for its content, technology and ground-breaking service and this, allied to the most important newspaper group on the island of Ireland, will create a compelling offering of print and online. The formula which made PropertyNews.com so successful in Northern Ireland is now being rolled out across the Republic and the strength of the Independent newspaper titles will considerably accelerate this,” O’Reilly said.
PropertyNews.com’s site traffic in February 2006 reached a new record of 10 million page impressions, making PropertyNews.com the most popular website in Northern Ireland. The Belfast Telegraph site www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk, which is also owned by INM, is the third largest Northern Irish site.
PropertyNews.com currently has 350,000 unique visitors a year, which is double the level of a year ago, with 10pc of them in the Republic.
In May 2005 PropertyNews.com extended its franchise into the Republic of Ireland and has already gained a market share of 70pc in Donegal and an estimated 25pc across 10 counties.
By John Kennedy
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