In August, Seven and Antony Catalano announced the joint venture. When more acquisitions are finalised into VMG, Seven will own roughly 20 per cent of the business, Antony Catalano will own about 20 per cent, Rich Lister Alex Waislitz will own around 20 per cent, and the remaining 40 per cent will be absorbed by various other shareholders from the acquired businesses.
The venture will aim to use Mr Catalano’s regional publishing business Australian Community Media (ACM) in combination with Seven’s metropolitan and regional television network, as well as its West Australian newspapers, to expand the real estate venture.
Tom Hywood told The Australian Financial Review the acquisition by VMG would give AD Group a boost through its wide audience.
“Until now, we’ve focused on growing our own niche audiences, and we haven’t had the opportunity to launch off a legacy media company with an existing wide-reaching audience,” he said.
“When we first started, I remember there being lines out the front of display suites … the times have changed, that being said, so has our business. I’m personally very bullish on the market … to be honest, we find when we have a softer market, customers of ours need our services to promote their products.”
According to a business plan, obtained by the Financial Review in 2020, the VMG portfolio would combine Real Estate View, House&Land Developments + Apartment Developments, Tomorrow Agency/Media Plus, a creative media agency specialising in real estate in which Mr Catalano invested and joined the board of in 2018, and The Today Business, a marketing and technology business for real estate services launched by Mr Catalano in 2019.
Jordy Catalano said the wider VMG portfolio had experience growing real estate businesses and employed former Domain executives.
“We’ve obviously got a number of people within the business who’ve been through this journey before,” he said.
Antony Catalano said: “While VMG is much more than a portal business, AD Group, along with realestateview.com.au, will be the consumer face of our group and this transaction will allow us to invest in these valuable brands, drive audiences via our partners in Seven West Media and ACM and deliver on our vision of seamlessly connecting vendors with buyers.”
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