For a believer there are few things more rewarding then seeing other believers succeed.
Therefore my first thought when seeing that CoStar acquires Propex (for 22 million USD) goes to the believers behind the scene. People like Paul Marples (managing director) and Colin Barber (founder and commercial director). Both who I've been fortune to meet up with a number of times. True believers in the use of IT in the real estate industry .
My second thought is that the entire market of IT suppliers in the European real estate industry will profit from CoStar's continued expansion over here. The more (market-) money they spend here; the more attention the industry will pay. Which is the greatest thing, having people in the real estate industry starting to think that there may be improvements to be done in the way they are conducting the business. Still It's not about competion in the market place, it's about creating a market.
Founded in 1987 by Andrew C. Florance (now days the President & Chief Executive Officer) the company has created the largest researched online database of commercial property information. Their 1 000 researchers have inspected over 2 million properties, mainly in the US. The company is traded on NASDAQ, with $158.9 million in revenues (year-end 2006) and is indeed financial strong with "$158.1 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, and no long-term debt". More financial data is found here.
CoStar in Europe
CoStar has acquired 15 companies over the last 20 years starting of in Europe in 2003 by acquiring FOCUS, "a major U.K. provider of web-based access to verified commercial lease comparables, available space, requirements, tenants, planning information and photos across the United Kingdom". Three months ago, in December 2006, CoStar also acquired Grecam, a provider of commercial property information, research and analytics in France. Read more about CoStar in Europe here.
Propex was formed in 1999 by Colin Barber, and really took of in year 2000 when the 18 largest investors in the UK joined forces in order to increase liquidity, transparency and efficiency across the real estate market by operating an electronic introduction and marketing platform. According to this article from, I assume PropertyWeek, Propex by year end in April 2006 had a turnover of £1,7 million (3,3 million USD), with a recorded loss. However, the business seems to have increased substantiality during 2006 since the CoStar press release (in February 2007) talks about "... approximately $5 million in annual revenues...". Find out more about Propex seeing this video and reading. Paul Marples, Managing Director at Propex, is from now also CoStar Group's senior strategist for developing an international investment sales platform.
Source: thanks Andrew Waller (Remit Consulting) for making me aware of this deal.