Silver Lake Offers $3B for U.K. Property Portal

Zoopla, a British counterpart to Zillow, has been growing as consumers continue to shift to websites for initial property searches and other services.
Matthew HellerMay 11, 2018

U.S. private equity firm Silver Lake is stepping into the U.K. property market by offering $3 billion to acquire the owner of the Zoopla search website.

Silver Lake’s 490 pence-a-share offer — a premium of 31% over Thursday’s close — for ZPG already has the backing of ZPG’s largest shareholder, Daily Mail and General Trust with a 29.9% stake.

Like Zillow in the U.S., Zoopla provides a portal where people can search for homes and commercial property to buy or rent, carrying listings for nearly 15,000 real estate agent branches. ZPG, which was founded by entrepreneur Alex Chesterman in 2007, also owns the PrimeLocation property site and the household energy comparison site uSwitch.

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“ZPG is a great growth technology company,” Silver Lake Managing Director Simon Patterson said in a news release. “It has established strong positions in property classifieds, home and financial services markets by innovating in product and marketing.”

As TechCrunch reports, ZPG has grown quickly by “tapping into the U.K. house-buying and selling boom” and the increasing number of people starting their initial searches for homes online. Residential property transactions across the U.K. rose by 4.5% year-on-year in the year to March 2018, according to provisional government data.

In fiscal year 2017, Zoopla reported 244.5 million pounds ($331 million) in revenues, up 24% on the year before, with 37.4 million pounds ($51 million) in profit. In comparison, Zillow this week reported revenues of $299.9 million for the previous quarter alone.

According to The Financial Times, Zoopla and its larger, publicly-traded rival Rightmove “are facing additional competition from OnTheMarket, a rival set up by a consortium of [realtors] in 2015 that aimed to break the hold of the two sites on a crucial outlet for home sales.

“Silver Lake is the global leader in technology investing and I am firmly of the belief that ZPG will benefit from their technology expertise and global network which will help accelerate our growth,” Chesterman said.

ZPG’s shares have risen by 69% since it went public in 2014.

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