Mumbai-based online and mobile classifieds portal Quikr is reportedly in talks to acquire real estate services provider Housing.com.
Quikr is expected to pay around ₹1,100 crore ($175 million) to buy the firm in a cash and stock deal, said sources close to the development.
Valuation of Housing.com stood at ₹1,500 crore ($250 million) during its last round of funding, which saw investment of $90 million from Japan's Softbank in November, last year. The real estate services startup has raised about $140 million in four rounds of funding.
"Right now the deal is 70 per cent in stock; if the stock amount is over 80 per cent then the valuation can increase to $175 million," said one investor in Housing.
Responding to the reports on the buyout, Housing.com's 'outgoing' CEO Rahul Yadav described it as the "Joke of the year" in a mail to The Economic Times.
"There have been talks (with Quikr), but there are other things to get sorted out first," said a source.
However, finalisation of the deal will depend on the "outcome" of the Housing.com board's meeting, which is to be held on Tuesday, where the investors will decide on the removal of Yadav from the top post, said the source.
Yadav holds 4.57% stake in the company worth ₹68 crore, taking into account the valuation of the company at ₹1,500 crores.
Apart from Softbank, Helion Ventures, Nexus Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures are the other investors in the online real estate service provider.
Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav, 26, is a final-year dropout from IIT-Bombay, and he has created a fair amount of controversy over the last few months. Yadav had quit the real estate startup in May, criticising the board members in his resignation letter. Later, he made a U-turn by withdrawing his resignation and apologising to the board.
Moreover, he gave away his entire stake in the company (₹150 crore to ₹200 crore) to Housing.com employees in the same month. He also challenged his peers to follow his step. However, some analysts see this as a "publicity stunt".
"The investors have been looking to exit for some time now — the startup has been making news for all reasons except the market it addresses," said a person familiar with the talks.