Business

Zoopla, Uswitch and Primelocation owner ZPG sold for £2.2bn

Zoopla on smartphone Image copyright ZPG

The owner of property website Zoopla and comparison site Uswitch has agreed to be bought by a US private equity firm.

Silver Lake is paying £2.2bn for ZPG, which also owns the PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes websites.

Investors in ZPG will receive 490p a share - almost a third higher than its closing price on Thursday.

"ZPG is a great growth technology company," said Silver Lake managing director Simon Patterson.

"It has established strong positions in property classifieds, home and financial services markets by innovating in product and marketing."

Alex Chesterman, founder and chief executive of ZPG, said: "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."

The deal was agreed with the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) which holds a near-30% stake in ZPG.

Counter-bid?

DMGT has held a substantial stake in ZPG since 2012 when its own online property business, the Digital Property Group, merged with Zoopla. The company floated in London four years ago and agreed to buy the Uswitch website in 2015.

ZPG shares jumped 30% to 486.2p, while shares in rival property website Rightmove rose nearly 5%.

The directors of ZPG, who own just over 1% of the company, also backed the takeover.

Ian Whittaker, an analyst at Liberum, said the offer indicated that buyers were prepared to pay significant premiums for high quality assets.

"The question now is whether there is a counter-bid. If there is one, we think the most likely candidate is Axel Springer, which has a collection of online property classified assets throughout assets but nothing in the UK," he said.

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