Monday, September 28, 2020
International

Silver Lake to buy ZPG for £2.2 billion

U.S.-based private equity firm, Silver Lake, has agreed to buy ZPG for £2.2 billion

Silver Lake, a U.S.-based private equity firm, has agreed to buy property portal, ZPG Plc., for £2.2 billion (S$3.98 billion) as it seeks to grow further in UK real-estate.

Silver Lake is one of the largest technology investors in the world, focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in technology, technology-enabled and related industries.

ZPG shareholders will receive 490 pence in cash per share, and Silver Lake already secured support for the bid from newspaper group Daily Mail & General Trust Plc., the property portal’s largest shareholder, the companies said in a statement Friday. In total, more than 30 per cent of ZPG shareholders have agreed to back the deal.

Private-equity investors are buying analytics firms seeking to monetise data flows. ZPG owns and operates a number of online property portals, including Zoopla, and a number of real-estate data firms. Founded in 2007, the group has steadily been buying up property and price-comparison platforms, and bought financial services website Money.co.uk in September for an initial £80 million and acquired property data provider Hometrack for £120 million.

Shares in ZPG jumped 30 per cent to 486.2 pence at 9.22 am in London, the biggest advance since the company listed in 2014. Despite the rocky UK housing market, the stock had risen 13 per cent this year before Friday’s bid. Daily Mail jumped 7.6 per cent to 765 pence.

With around US$40 billion of assets under management, Silver Lake has already been targeting UK property groups. In March, it announced a deal with Battery Ventures to buy EDR, a real estate software company, from DMGT for US$205 million.

Industry analysts have recently flagged UK real estate agents as targets for M&A activity as they face strong competition from online real estate businesses. Traditional high-street players like Foxtons Group Plc. and Countrywide Plc. facing a stagnant housing market and a loss of market share to online competitors.

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