Local media companies inject cash into Catalano’s new real-estate play

Local media companies inject cash into Catalano’s new real-estate play

Roger Pettingell Sarasota Real Estate

Real estate entrepreneur Antony Catalano and his billionaire business partner Alex Waislitz have received financial backing from local media companies as they prepare to finalise the formation of their new real-estate listings company.

Industry sources, who spoke anonymously as the new entity has not launched, said multiple media companies with a regional footprint had agreed to inject cash into an entity formed by Catalano’s real-estate and agent service assets. They said the new entity, which is expected to run under the Real Estate View banner, could launch by the end of the month.

Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano wants to build a regional media company with a diversified set of media assets.Credit:Jesse Marlow

The well-placed sources pointed to the likely partners being Australian media stalwarts Kerry Stokes and Bruce Gordon, who through Seven West Media and WIN Corp have a regional footprint. Catalano and Waislitz own major regional newspaper titles including The Canberra Times and The Newcastle Herald, which already promote the pair’s real-estate assets. Southern Cross Media is unlikely to be a partner as it is still deciding whether to sell off its television assets.

The deals with each media company are expected to involve cash and contra (free advertising space), the sources said. Any investment by Seven would be a clear sign of an improvement in the relationship between the broadcaster and Catalano, who tried to thwart its first attempt to buy regional affiliate Prime Media Group. WIN Corp, Catalano and Waislitz were all shareholders in Prime before it was sold to Seven.

Catalano declined to comment on whether Seven, WIN Corp or any other party has decided to invest. “We are continuing to implement the business plan,” he said. Seven and WIN were approached for comment.

Catalano was the former chief executive of Domain until 2018. He sold his business Metro Media Publishing to Fairfax Media (now Nine) in 2015.

Catalano and Waislitz increased their stake in property classifieds business Real Estate View to 72 per cent in early February as they prepared to bring together a range of companies controlled by investment vehicle, IMP. He said at the time he could offer investors a competitive alternative to existing real-estate platforms.

IMP also owns 30 per cent of advertising group Tomorrow Agency/Media Plus and 25 per cent of The Today Business, which specialises in advertising services for developer and residential businesses. Catalano is also involved with Apartment Developments, a website run by his son, Jordan Catalano, and Tom Hywood, the son of former Fairfax Media boss Greg Hywood.

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These companies, which run from the same office in Cremorne, Melbourne, are being rolled up into one entity called Real Estate View, and could launch as early as this month. Catalano has almost 30 per cent stake in real-estate tech start up Propic and has a stake in business connections service Beevo.

Any deal with a media company would give the new real-estate arm an ability to promote itself at scale across metropolitan and regional Australia.

“The plan has always been to build a diverse multimedia real estate, digital and agent services business,” Catalano told this masthead in January. “The way I see it the total transactional value of real estate in Australia is in excess of $250 billion annually. We’ve got a strong shot at drawing new audiences and bringing a more competitive offering for consumers and a bigger and better full life cycle offering for buyers, sellers and renters.”

Catalano initially intended to wrap his entities into a shell company left from the sale of regional broadcaster Prime, but the sources said those plans had stopped. An ASX listing is still on the cards and could take place later this year, but it is expected to exclude the publishing division, Australian Community Media

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