Zoopla to buy Hometrack for £120m
One of the UK's largest online property sales websites, Zoopla, is going to buy the Hometrack website for £120m.
Hometrack provides information and data on the property market, especially property valuations, for both individual users and property professionals.
Zoopla already owns the price comparison service, Uswitch, and the property sales website, Primelocation.
Hometrack specialises in automatic valuations of properties.
Alex Chesterman, boss of Zoopla, said he was "delighted" to buy the firm.
He described it as "the clear market leader in automatic valuation model services in the UK and a leading player in Australia".
Hometrack was set up in 1999 and expanded into Australia in 2007.
Unlike Zoopla, which was launched in 2008 and which advertises properties for sale or to let on behalf of estate agents and landlords, Hometrack provides information for mortgage lenders, surveyors, investors, and home buyers.
Hometrack offers an automatic online alternative to surveyors coming and valuing people's homes.
"Now more than 50% of all valuations are carried out in a split second with a computer and Hometrack powers more than 90% of those," said Hometrack's founder Giles Mackay.
Property market commentator, Henry Pryor, said the takeover was "one more step to treating property as a commodity and valuing it online from your desk top".
"The addition of Hometrack to the Zoopla stable will give enhanced credibility to the online Zoopla house price estimates provided on that company's website," he added.
Hometrack says that 17 of the UK's top mortgage lenders use its valuation services.
It employs only 55 staff in both the UK and Australia and will continue to operate as a separate business.
Its chief executive, Charlie Bryant, said: "We have had a long-standing relationship with Zoopla and share the same vision of using data to help our partners operate more effectively."