Ed Williams, chief executive of the property website Rightmove is hoping that his company’s planned listing on the London Stock Exchange will live up to its name.
On facts and figures alone, it should become investors’ delight. The company has a very simple business model. It charges estate agents a flat £250 a month per office to list any property they want. It’s a great deal when you consider an agent will spend between £2,000 and £5,000 a month on colour advertising in the local press.
Rightmove’s website had 4.5 million unique visitors in January, double the figure a year ago. The number of pages accessed was a remarkable 340 million, and already the company is wondering if there can really be many more people looking for homes out there.
Look at cost and circulation, and online has rapidly become a cheap way for classified advertisers to reach large numbers of consumers.
When the company, which last year produced profits of £8.7 million on revenues of £18.2 million, comes to market it will have a price tag of around £300 million, producing multi million pound windfalls for the main investors the estate agent groups of Countrywide, Halifax, and Connells,and the Royal & SunAlliance.
Ed, a former business strategy and IT consultant, with McKinsey & Co, Accenture and JP Morgan, will also be considerably better off. He joined Rightmove in 2000 as Managing Director, shortly after it was set up and one of his first tasks to form the senior management team which remains in place through to today.
Now that the website business has such a dominance in the property listings market, the plan is for Rightmove to become a broadly based residential property services group, particularly a major player in the market for Home Information Packs that all sellers will have to complete next year.
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