US private equity firm Silver Lake has bought ZPG, the parent group of UK property site Zoopla, in a £2.2bn deal.
ZPG also owns businesses such as price comparison websirte uSwitch and PrimeLocation.
Silver Lake is a California-based tech investor, which has backed companies including Alibaba, GoDaddy and Tesla and has around $39bn in assets under management.
The £2.2bn bid is almost a third higher than ZPG’s closing price on Thursday, and works out at investors in receiving 490p a share.
Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla, will walk away with £61m; he currently holds £22m in the business but, has share options that take the total to £61m.
Chesterman 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.”
He continued: “Since its IPO in 2014, ZPG has evolved and diversified as we have made significant progress in becoming the platform of choice for consumers and partners engaged in property and household decisions
“The terms of the acquisition represent an attractive premium that recognises the quality of ZPG’s businesses and the strength of its future prospects, and allows shareholders to realise today in cash the potential future value of their holdings.”
Before the deal can be confirmed, Silver Lake needs to get 75% of shareholders to agree.
Silver Lake managing director Simon Patterson said: “ZPG is a great growth technology company. It has established strong positions in property classifieds, home and financial services markets by innovating in product and marketing.”
The deal has been backed by more than 31% of investors so far. This includes the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which owns a 30% chunk of the shares. Following its agreement, its shares rose by 5% in early trading.
DMGT has a history of online property acquisitions; having bought online property search business Sitescope in 2003, then Findaproperty in 2004 and PrimeLocation in 2006.
Since it was founded in 2007, Zoopla has raised around £16.3m and made around nine acquisitions, including thinkproperty.com back in 2009, uSwitch for £190m in May 2015, and Hometrack in January 2017 for £120m.