Daily Mail books into villa rentals website A FORMER farmer is poised to harvest a multi-million-euro fortune from the sale of an online holiday villa booking service to Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), the newspaper group. Tim Coulton set up Villarenters.com from the basement of his home in a village in rural England, four years ago. The site matches up owners of holiday homes with people looking to rent them, and today offers more than 10,000 properties around the world. The deal, which could be announced this week, takes DMGT’s spending on online businesses to more than £170m (€252m) as it builds a portfolio of websites. Analysts expect DMGT to pay about £10m for Villarenters, although part of this is likely to be deferred in an “earn-out” arrangement for Coulton and his business partner Alan Houghton. Coulton got the idea to launch Villarenters after finding it increasingly difficult to manage the small portfolio of holiday homes his family owned. He had bought the properties with capital raised from the sale of his farm. As well as providing details of villas for rent, it also has a number of other features, such as software that automatically offers discounts for last-minute deals. Villarenters’ other main shareholder is chief operating officer Houghton, who helped launch the site with Coulton. Non-executive chairman Jeremy Sharman, a former private-equity executive, is the only other shareholder. DMGT has been steadily acquiring online businesses that complement its newspaper operations. The company claims its online presence reaches 25% of all British internet users every month. Its other sites include recruitment site Retailcareers and property site Primelocation.