News & Analysis

Fairfax Media’s Domain acquires 50 percent stake in Residential Connections

- July 7, 2016 2 MIN READ
Residential Connections

FairFax Media’s Domain has acquired a 50 percent stake in Residential Connections, a company which owns utility comparison platform Compare and Connect. The acquisition provides a new opportunity for online property service Domain, which is no longer just a real estate listings business.

Domain chief executive Antony Catalano said Domain is now tapping into every touch point of property. “Domain Group has the best suite of real estate media assets in the country, and we will continue to look at opportunities to build on that leadership position.

“Given its unique product advantages, this investment enables Domain to enter into the residential utilities connection space with a superior offering, demonstrating our continued commitment to partner with the real estate industry and establish a market-leading position,” he said.

Residential Connections’ Compare and Connect will be now be used by Domain to generate leads to its platform.

Neil Saligrama, Residential Connection’s chief executive, said the investment from Domain will help both businesses grow.

“Supported by Domain’s extensive agent and consumer audience and leveraging Domain’s sales force, we expect to accelerate market share growth and lead generation through integration of the Compare & Connect platform into Domain’s agent-facing systems and network of consumer-facing platforms.”

Compare and Connect is a platform that helps consumers choose their electricity and gas suppliers from a range of connections. It looks to enable consumers to make smarter decisions when switching suppliers in the event of having an existing property or moving house.

Compare and Connect has also recently won national contracts with leaders in real estate including LJ Hooker and PRD Nationwide.

Catalano said Compare and Connect has a solid market position and is well placed to accelerate growth on the back of these recent contract wins. The platform also powers a number of major Victorian real estate brands including Biggin & Scott and Stockdale & Leggo, as well as the energy section of the comparethemarket.com.au comparison site for consumers.

“Compare & Connect is the only independent end to end platform offering movers the ability to compare suppliers’ packages when they decide to connect utilities through their real estate agent,” Catalano said.

The stake in Residential Connections is part of Domain’s continued pursuit of significant opportunities and synergies between Australian businesses. In May this year Domain acquired a 35 percent stake in Oneflare, an online marketplace for local service providers. It came just a short time after Domain’s competitor Realestate.com.au, owned by News Corp, acquired a 25 percent stake in tradie marketplace hipages.

“Domain’s investment in Oneflare is part of our strategy to broaden our offering to consumers and agents across the property lifecycle, into home improvement and local trade services,” said Catalano at the time.

Domain reports it has four million Australians using its apps and website to search for property monthly, while the Fairfax Media network itself reaches 13 million people each month. The acquisition of the stakes in both Oneflare and Residential Connections, along with the hiring of Damon Pezaro as its new head of product in March, puts Domain in a position to leverage off the innovative approach to technology and product development of Australian businesses.

Image: Product Head of Domain, Damon Pezaro. Source: Supplied.