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Singapore's PropertyGuru raises $144 million funding from KKR

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - PropertyGuru Group, which operates real estate portals and apps in Southeast Asia, said on Wednesday it has secured a S$200 million ($144 million) investment from private equity firm KKR & Co Inc as it seeks to grow its services.

Singapore-based PropertyGuru will use the funds to take full ownership of Vietnamese property portal Batdongsan.com.vn, in which it already owns a stake, to expand in its fifth market.

"The capital we raised is in excess of what we need to take that stake, the rest we are keeping essentially as a bit of a war chest for other inorganic growth opportunities," said Hari Krishnan, its chief executive officer.

Including KKR's investment, PropertyGuru has raised S$436.2 million so far, the company said.

Krishnan said the firm was looking at providing more mortgage-related services and customised products to users.

He did not give valuations for Batdongsan or PropertyGuru.

A person familiar with the matter said PropertyGuru was valued at more than S$500 million but was not a unicorn yet.

"We expect it to become one in a few years," said the person, adding the latest funding was done through a combination of primary and secondary shares.

PropertyGuru, which was founded in 2007, says it is profitable and cash flow positive, with revenues growing by more than 25 percent year-on-year.

The company offers services to make property-related decisions easier and more transparent for users, who can search listings online, view photos of homes and make comparisons.

KKR has recently backed other technology firms in Southeast Asia, including Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek and the Philippines' Voyager Innovations, a digital payments firm.

PropertyGuru's last funding round was in 2015, when it raised S$175 million from U.S. private equity firm TPG, Indonesian media company Emtek and venture capital firm Square Peg Capital.

Krishnan said TPG and KKR would be PropertyGuru's largest investors, with stakes of similar size in the company.

While an initial public offering was an option for the company, Krishnan said such a move was not imminent and "definitely not in the next 6 months."

Redpeak Advisers was the financial adviser to PropertyGuru, while Allen and Gledhill provided legal counsel.

($1 = 1.3859 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Richard Pullin and Darren Schuettler)