Private Property’s new deal doesn’t affect agent shareholding

Private Property’s new deal doesn’t affect agent shareholding

Estate agents need not be concerned that their shareholding in Private Property will be affected by the recently announced changes in shareholding in one of the country’s biggest online property portals says Jan le Roux, chairman of Private Property

It was reported in the media this week that Private Property, the second largest online property portal in SA, has had a transfer in ownership in an all-share deal between Caxton and a JSE-listed technology company Cognition Holdings.

Actually nothing much has changed.

It all sounds very complicated but in effect it boils down to this. Last year Caxton acquired a 50% shareholding in Private Property. Through this new deal they are transferring their 50% share to Cognition Holdings which then becomes a subsidiary company of Caxton. So, in effect, there is no real change in control as Caxton will have a controlling interest in Cognition.

“Caxton at the moment controls 50% of Private Property and will keep on doing so through a company that they are acquiring control of in the process called Cognition Holdings. To the best of our knowledge Caxton is just in the process of rearranging their digital interests,” explains Le Roux.

Commenting along similar lines, Nicholas Rossato, Private Property Chief Financial Officer says: “The reason for the transaction is simply that Caxton, as a legacy print business, deems Cognition a more appropriate vehicle in which to house their current and planned investments in digital technology businesses. The new shareholding structure will not affect the service estate agents and related clients receive from the Private Property. Caxton’s commitment to Private Property is undiminished and, indeed, we expect that Private Property’s services and offerings will be enhanced as further, complimentary investments are added to the Cognition stable.”

Commenting on whether the deal could impact estate agent shareholding in Private Property, Le Roux gave the assurance that “this is a transaction that does not affect the estate agent shareholding in Private Property at all.” He is also the chief executive of industry body Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (Rebosa) that assisted in negotiating the deal last year to thwart the attempt by main rival Property24 to take over Private Property and saw Caxtons obtain a 50% shareholding. This transaction enabled estate agencies to be able to buy shares in Private Property at the same price as the current shareholders.

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