About Simon Baker

August 11th, 2008

View Simon Baker's profile on LinkedIn

Simon Baker is a leading global expert in the field of online classified advertising.

Simon currently runs Classified Ad Ventures (CAV), a business focused on providing consulting services to and investing in online classified sites around the world. The busness as investments in seven online businesses.

From 2001 through 2008, Simon was the CEO and Managing Director of the Australian listed online real estate company – realestate.com.au Ltd (also known as the REA Group).

The REA Group is a leading provider of online real estate sites – operating 22 sites in 10 countries covering residential, commercial and holiday rentals.  The REA Group owns a suite of back office applications and print publications.

During his time at the REA Group, Simon grew revenues from $4m in FY 2001 to $155m in FY 2008 and grew EBITDA from -$6m in FY 2001 to $37m in FY 2008.  Most importantly, Simon delivered great returns for the shareholders by increasing the market capitalisation from $8m in June 2001 to over $600m in June 2008.

Some of the other KPIs driving the growth of the business were:

  • Unique visitors increased from ~250k in June 2001 through 8m+ in June 2008
  • Paying customers increased from 1,200 in June 2001 through 24,000+ in June 2008
  • Employees increased from 25 in June 2001 through ~750 in June 2008

Helping drive this growth was 15 acquisitions between 2003 and 2008.  The acquisitions driven by Simon include:

  • Acquisition of property.com.au – the then #3 real estate web site in Australia
  • Acquisition of propertylook.com.au in Australia
  • Acquisition of propertyfinder.com, hotproperty.co.uk and ukpropertyshop.co.uk in the UK
  • Acquisition of 70% of casa.it in Italy, the leading real estate web site
  • Acquisition of the athome Group in Luxembourg – consisting of athome.lu, athome.de, athome.be, athomelorraine.fr, athomealsace.fr and Altown
  • Acquisition of 51% of propertyfinder.ae in Dubai
  • Acquisition of squarefoot.com.hk in Hong Kong
  • Acquisition of backoffice tools businesses in Australia including Hubonline Pty Ltd and Clarke Computers Pty Ltd
  • Investment in HomeGuru Pty Ltd in Australia

The REA Group is now seen as the global leader in online real estate marketing.

Check out their website www.rea-group.com

Prior to becoming the CEO of realestate.com.au in 2001, Simon was the Chief Business Development Officer at News Corp in Australia and was responsible for the investment by News Corp in to the realestate.com.au L:td business.

Prior to this, Simon was the Chief Technology Officer at a US start up – naturalhealthlink.com and he spent 5 years with McKinsey and Co in Australia.

He has an MBA from the Melbourne Business School and a BSc (Comp Sci) from Monash University.

To find out more about Simon, check out his linkedin profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/stbaker

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