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‘Unicorn’ Vacasa completes acquisition, raises $319 million

photo of idaho vacasa home

The Lake Fork Lodge is one of more than 100 short-term rental homes in McCall that Vacasa manages. Image courtesy of Vacasa

Vacation rental company Vacasa announced the finalization of a major acquisition that could almost double the size of the company’s holdings, as well as a $319 million third round of investment.

Vacasa – based in Portland but with a Boise corporate office – finalized the acquisition of Wyndham Vacation Rentals, a move that will bring a number of brands under its ownership.

The company had announced plans for the acquisition in July. It was originally priced at $162 million, with $30 million in equity. The final amount was $156 million in cash and $10 million in Vacasa equity, said Anni Murphy, public relations manager, in an email message.

Series C funding

The $319 million investment – larger than the $200 million Airbnb received for its third round in 2013 – gives the company a valuation of more than $1 billion, which categorizes it as a “unicorn” in startup parlance.

The round was led by Silver Lake, which specializes in technology investing. It has more than $43 billion in combined assets under management and committed capital and a team of approximately 100 investment and operating professionals in Silicon Valley, New York, London and Hong Kong. Its portfolio generates more than $230 billion of revenue annually and employs 370,000 people globally.

Existing investors Riverwood Capital, Level Equity, and NewSpring also participated in the capital raise. Financial terms were not disclosed.

With this new financing, Vacasa plans to enhance its technology platform, expand into new markets and develop new offerings including Vacasa Real Estate, which has evolved from an agent network to a service model that includes brokerages in vacation rental markets throughout the country.

With a first round funding of $103.5 million and a second round of $64 million, Vacasa has now raised a total of $526.5 million in private equity funding — more than any other startup of its kind, according to industry reports.

More Idaho jobs

Vacasa has more than 3,300 employees, about 220 of which are in its Boise corporate office with another 100 in field offices throughout the state, Murphy said. The number of Idaho employees is likely to increase, though the company wasn’t able to provide specifics.

“Vacasa will be bringing on Wyndham Vacation Rentals employees throughout Idaho who will work in the field, as well as potentially in our Boise corporate office, spanning specialties such as engineering, sales, analytics and finance,” Murphy said. “Since our inventory size will nearly double from approximately 14,000 to more than 23,000, we expect there will be a demand for new roles within Vacasa in Idaho and beyond.”

With the acquisition, Vacasa will begin to migrate the Wyndham Vacation Rentals portfolio of more than 9,000 homes in 50 destinations into its platform over the next 12 months, the company said in a statement. In total, Vacasa will manage more than 23,000 homes across North America, Europe, Central and South America and Africa. Integration is expected to be complete by fall 2020.

Currently, Vacasa manages 503 vacation homes in Idaho, while Wyndham manages 109 rentals in the state, Murphy said.

Other Vacasa developments

Vacasa also said it will absorb management of 140 homeowners associations (HOAs), which will fold under Vacasa Community Association Management. Short-term rental-focused HOAs in Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, South Carolina and Utah will transition to Vacasa, bringing the total HOAs under management to 156.

The company also announced last month that it had launched a direct application programming interface (API) integration with Google, meaning that guests can now search and book vacation homes managed by Vacasa through the search engine.

Vacasa markets and manages vacation rental properties across the country. Property owners list their homes on Vacasa’s website and Vacasa hires management, cleaning and maintenance staffers to oversee the sites. It takes a commission on each booking. It competes against other holiday listing services such as Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, but operates somewhat differently because it both lists and manages properties for its clients.

About Sharon Fisher