National law firm Shoosmiths has advised the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, LDC, on the sale of Property Software Holdings Limited ("The Property Software Group" or "PSG") to Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE: ZPLA) ("ZPG" or "the Group"), for £75m.
LDC originally backed the £17.8m management buyout of PSG from Guardian Media Group in 2013 (a deal on which the Shoosmiths team also advised). Together with management, it supported the development of PSG's cloud-based offering, which now accounts for almost 50 per cent of revenues, and the acquisition of its smaller rival, Jupix, in June 2014. Sales grew 56 per cent between 2014 and 2016 from £10.2m to £15.9m.
ZPG owns and operates some of the UK's leading online consumer brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation and uSwitch, which it also acquired from LDC in April 2015.
Established in 2007, PSG is the UK's market-leading provider of software solutions to property professionals, used in over 8,000 agency branches. PSG provides workflow tools to over 40,000 estate and lettings agents across the UK through its innovative cloud-based (Alto, Jupix) and desktop (Vebra, Core, CFP) software products. Its products provide essential systems for the day-to-day management of inventory, marketing and communications as well as diary management, chain progression, business reporting tools and financial processes.
PSG will continue to operate as a standalone platform and brand with business as usual and the PSG team becoming an integral part of the wider Group. Mark Goddard, CEO of PSG, will become Managing Director of the Group's Property Services division, reporting to ZPG Founder & CEO, Alex Chesterman.
Shoosmiths corporate partner Sean Wright assisted by Tim Moss and Emma Livesey, advised LDC on all corporate aspects of the deal.
Alastair Weinel, Investment Director at LDC, said: 'Shoosmiths has offered us exceptional corporate advice on this important deal.
'PSG has achieved impressive growth and development over the last three years, which is credit to the ambition, vision and commitment of its management team and our partnership. The acquisition represents excellent outcome for its shareholders, employees and customers. Being part of a group like ZPG provides further opportunity to continue expanding its reach and presence in the property sector. This deal underscores LDC's highly successful strategy of supporting the management teams of fast growing technology and software businesses. We wish the management team every success for the future.'
Shoosmiths' Sean Wright, added: 'It was a pleasure to have advise LDC on the sale of PSG to Zoopla. PSG offers Zoopla many benefits as the group looks to widen its capabilities to fulfil growth ambitions. We very much look forward to working with LDC on future deals.'
Shoosmiths' corporate team advises public and private companies, management teams, investors and debt providers through the business life cycle. Shoosmiths work with businesses from start-up and first round finance through to mergers and acquisitions, MBO and MBI transactions, development funding and on exits, by way of sale, listing or private equity investment.
Nationally, the corporate team is ranked in joint first place by deal volume in Experian's UK Deal Review and Advisor League Table. The team was recognised for its mergers and acquisitions expertise at the 2015 M&A Awards, winning the Law Firm of the Year category.