One of the most respected figures in property journalism has repeated a call for OnTheMarket to throw in its lot with Rightmove.
Commentator Peter Bill, a former editor of Estates Gazette, said he first made the suggestion a year ago.
What has changed since then has been the ruling from the Competition Appeal Tribunal that OnTheMarket’s ‘one other portal rule’ is not anti-competitive, and that OTM has a perfect right to try and disrupt the Rightmove and Zoopla duopoly by insisting that its agents list with only one of the latter.
But, says Bill, the ruling has come “too little and too late”.
He now says that Rightmove’s astonishingly successful results delivered last Friday show that it is unbeatable.
Bill describes Rightmove as a licence to print money, and the Amazon of the property listings market.
Last Friday’s half-year results showed that Rightmove made a £91m profit on £120m of revenues. It is giving £72m of those profits to shareholders.
In his latest commentary, Bill repeats his article of last year, in which he said that the ‘one other portal’ rule had strengthened, not weakened, Rightmove.
He said last August: “A bargaining position exists: Why not hand over OnTheMarket to Rightmove some time before 2020? In return, take Rightmove shares for all members, not just original backers. Then enjoy Zoopla’s discomfort and dividends from a business that is run for profit.”
Bill now claims OTM suggested after seeing his article of 12 months ago that they were looking at how they operate. “Since then silence,” claims Bill.
Separately, at the City analysts’ briefing that followed its results, Rightmove is said to have played down the potential headwind from online/hybrid agents.
It told analysts that there was similar growth in advertising revenue from all types of agents, and that it was well placed to further monetise hybrid players.