Rightmove has revealed that it has been given official approval to go ahead with its £20 million purchase of tenant referencing firm Van Mildert, which it has now completed.
Its purchase of the company was announced on July 26 but Rightmove has been waiting since then for approval from the Financial Conduct Authority, as the portal has had to go through the process of being approved as a financial product provider.
This is because Van Mildert, which Rightmove now owns outright, is both a leading tenant referencing firm carrying out 200,000 references on behalf of clients last year but also a rent guarantee insurance provider.
The deal also creates an unusual situation; Van Mildert is a reference services provider to several property software platforms including Jupix, which is owned by Zoopla.
However, the FCA approval is the latest step in Rightmove’s march towards being a provider of services both to letting agents, landlords and tenants via its tenant passport product launched in June 2018 and now Van Mildert.
Rightmove believes the renting market is under-served and that it has an opportunity to use its brand, huge cash reserves and marketing muscle to become a player in the sector.
“We believe the combination of Rightmove’s unrivalled reach and Van Mildert’s products and operational experience will augment the Rightmove Tenant Passport, helping in our quest to make renting a property faster, easier and more efficient for tenants, landlords, and agents alike,” CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson said earlier this year.
Rightmove has paid an initial £16 million for Van Mildert and, if it hits profit and expansion targets, will pay an additional £4 million to its now former shareholders including co-founders Christian Balshen and Richard Hammond.