HomeAway, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWAY), the world’s leading online marketplace for vacation rentals, announced today it has acquired Stayz Group, the publisher of Stayz.com.au and the leading online vacation rental marketplace in Australia. The Stayz Group, which also includes Rentahome.com.au, TakeABreak.com.au, and YesBookIt, was purchased from Fairfax Digital, a division of Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FJX), for approximately US$198 million in an all-cash transaction. Stayz, which generated AU$25.4 million in revenue in its last fiscal year 2013 (ended in June 2013), has long employed a commission-based business model, which produces the majority of its revenue.
“The acquisition of Stayz adds 33,000 additional Australian-based properties to the HomeAway network. It also provides HomeAway a strong momentum to our newly-launched pay-per-booking business, something Stayz has worked over the years to optimize,” says HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples. “Additionally, they have demonstrated that a vacation rental business can generate attractive margins operating on primarily a pay-per-booking model, and we look forward to learning from their team.”
The acquisition of Stayz continues HomeAway’s investment and reach into the Asia Pacific region. In 2011 the company purchased the vacation rental business from REA Group Limited and subsequently launched HomeAway.com.au and in 2012 made a minority investment in China-based vacation rental company, Tujia.com. HomeAway acquired majority control of short-term rental site travelmob.com in July of this year and made a majority purchase of New-Zealand-based vacation rental site, Bookabach, last month.
Founded in 2001, and purchased by Fairfax Media in 2005, the Stayz business has grown into a portfolio of sites that generate both subscription and performance-based revenues from properties operated by owners and property managers. Stayz traffic outsizes their next biggest competitor by almost 8-to-1, generating strong levels of customer satisfaction for both owners and travelers.“HomeAway is absolutely the perfect partner for us,” says Anton Stanish, General Manager for Stayz. “By joining forces, our customers benefit from the global reach and technology leadership HomeAway can provide as the region’s and the world’s largest vacation rental company.”