CoStar Group to Expand Apartments.com Network with Acquisition of ForRent for $385 Million

WASHINGTON, DC - CoStar Group, the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces, announced that it plans to acquire ForRent, a division of Dominion Enterprises, pursuant to a definitive agreement for $350 million in cash and $35 million in CoStar Group stock.

ForRent's primary service is digital advertising through a network of four multifamily websites — which includes ForRent.com, AFTER55.com, CorporateHousing.com and ForRentUniversity.com. ForRent had approximately 17,000 properties advertised on its websites as of June 2017.

Through the first six months of 2017, these sites generated over 47 million visits and an average of 3.5 million unique monthly visitors. ForRent is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, and has 475 employees located in 38 offices around the United States.

"We are delighted to welcome the ForRent team and their family of sites to the Apartments.com network," said Andrew C. Florance, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CoStar Group. "We believe this is a beneficial combination for all of our constituents. Prospective renters will have access to the most complete and accurate inventory of apartment availabilities with more than one million rentals spanning apartments, homes, and condominiums. Advertisers will benefit from our unmatched leads-to-lease conversion ratio. ForRent advertisers' properties will be featured on Apartments.com after the transaction closes increasing their exposure by approximately 500%. For the investors and lenders relying on CoStar for multifamily information and analytics, we expect the addition of properties and data from ForRent will further strengthen our information offering."

ForRent's revenue for 2017 is expected to be approximately $100 million and EBITDA is estimated at approximately $15 million, for an EBITDA margin of 15%, based on financial results from the first half of 2017. CoStar expects to achieve synergies of approximately $25 million within 24 months after the acquisition closes, resulting in an adjusted purchase price multiple of ten times EBITDA after synergies. 

"110 million renters in the U.S. collectively spend just under half a trillion dollars a year on rent, representing one of the fastest growing consumer market segments," said Florance. "Our commitment to the multifamily industry has been resolute and evidenced by our investment in marketing, technology and the curation and delivery of original content to create the premier marketplace for renting an apartment in the United States."

ForRent.com will remain a distinct, complementary brand to Apartments.com.  By offering multiple distinct website marketing solutions, property managers and owners will have more exposure for their listings. CoStar expects to fully integrate the underlying technology that supports its entire multifamily suite of services by mid-2018, thereby efficiently leveraging a common research and listing platform.  Following integration, advertisers will be able to manage all of their listings across the combined networks through a single website. CoStar expects this will result in significant operating efficiencies for the Company, its advertisers, and renters.

"We intend to enhance ForRent.com and its related sites as we did with Apartments.com and ApartmentFinder," said Florance. "Our research, technology and marketing initiatives have created the most-visited apartment listing site, which in turn delivers unprecedented levels of leads, leases and value to our advertising customers.  We look forward to delivering that same value to all renters and advertisers on the ForRent network of sites."

"We are pleased to become part of the Apartments.com network," said Terry Slattery, President of ForRent. "CoStar's commitment to and investment in the multifamily space has created an exceptional platform that provides renters outstanding visibility with the highest quality of listings while providing property managers exceptional value through tremendous lead conversion. ForRent has partnered with its valued customers for decades and we believe that our customers and users will greatly benefit from this terrific combination."

Florance stated, "I am looking forward to working with the great team at ForRent and welcoming them to the Apartments.com family. The entire team at Apartments.com is dedicated to building and growing commercial real estate's premier online apartment platform across the $3.5 trillion U.S. multifamily asset class."