Spain / Germany: Berlin-based COSI Group, a technology provider in the short-term rental sector and driver of the new ‘commercial living’ asset class, has announced the acquisition of Friendly Rentals, the largest provider for short-term rentals in Barcelona with additional properties in Valencia, Seville, and San Sebastian.
In a transaction supported by boutique advisory firm AJL Atelier, COSI Group acquired 100 per cent of Friendly Rentals from Novasol A/S, one of Northern Europe’s leading holiday rental groups with a portfolio of more than 50,000 properties, and part of vacation rental and resort company, Awaze.
The acquisition of Friendly Rentals marks a continuation of COSI`s growth strategy, and acceleration of its expansion across the Iberian Peninsula.
Focusing on hotel and commercial properties in central locations of Spain’s major cities, COSI targets “lively neighbourhoods and main demand drivers” for tourism and business travellers. COSI Iberia has already secured properties in Madrid’s Plaza de las Cortes and Barcelona’s iconic Eixample district.
Christian Gaiser, CEO and co-founder of COSI Group, said: “Friendly Rentals was founded in 2003 and built a dominating position, featuring long standing trusted relationships with local real estate partners. Friendly Rentals is one of the largest players for short-term rentals in Barcelona, which by nature is tough to enter for outsiders organically, due to limited supply and heavy regulation.
“Thus, Friendly Rentals provides a perfect head start for COSI to develop a leading position in the core markets of Barcelona and Madrid – two of the top ten destinations in Europe,” he added.
Nicolas Dugerdil, head of international expansion at COSI Group, said: “With the acquisition, COSI Group accelerates its access to the Iberian Peninsula as a key market for its European expansion. Friendly Rentals’ solid track record and local expertise combined with COSI’s cutting edge technology and design capabilities result in powerful synergies that shall deliver superior services for its existing and future hospitality and real estate partners.”
John Crosby, group chief operating officer for Awaze, said: “A pan-European vision like ours at Awaze brings a strong focus on our core business of vacation rentals. COSI with its urban focus is the perfect new home for Friendly Rentals.”
Friendly Rentals COO Angela Watson said: “Friendly Rentals is very well established in the market, however, the potential of tourist apartments in Spain is far from being maxed out. Significant growth can still be expected here in the future.
“We are now ideally positioned as part of the COSI Group with its innovative and proven technology platform,” she added.
Cosi Group secured €20 million in investment to fund its European expansion plans back in March this year, off the back of a €5 million seed funding round in August 2019. The latest round was led by Vienna-based real estate development firm Soravia, as well as venture capital companies and existing investors, Cherry Ventures, e.ventures, Kreos Capital and Bremke.
Similarly, Awaze has been aggressive in its recent growth strategy with the purchase of three new holiday rental firms in the UK and Denmark last month. The company acquired Amberley House and Portscatho Holidays in the UK and Bornholmtours in Denmark, adding more than 1,000 new holiday homes to Awaze’s 110,000+ managed vacation rentals portfolio.
Awaze’s brands include Hoseasons, Cottages.com Landal GreenParks, James Villa Holidays and Novasol.