Fairfax buys holiday rental website business

Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) has acquired online holiday home rental and corporate accommodation business Occupancy Pty Ltd for $29.1 million in cash and stock.

Fairfax said Occupancy lists around 25,000 holiday rental properties, via the websites Rentahome.com.au and Takeabreak.com.au.

The business generates revenue from booking commissions paid by property owners, as well as advertising, and also provides travel ideas, guides, reviews and event information.

Of the acquisition price, $17.9 million will be paid out in cash, while the remainder will be distributed in shares in the combined Stayz/Occupancy business.

This will result in Occupancy shareholders taking possession of 10 per cent of the business, with Fairfax holding the remainder.

Fairfax already operates online holiday rental websites Stayz.com.au in Australia and Holidayhomes.co.nz in New Zealand, as well as travel booking service Bookit.co.nz, which caters to both nations.

Jack Matthews, CEO of Fairfax unit Metropolitan Media, said the acquisition “reinforces our strategy of building out deep, niche verticals that match specific audience needs.”

He said Stayz has grown to over one million unique users per month since the business was acquired in 2005 for $14.3 million. The Occupancy sites have a combined audience of around 840,000 unique visitors per month.

FXJ shares fell 2.7 per cent on Monday to $1.260.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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