US private equity firm Silverlake has paid £2.2bn to take control of ZPG, the owner of online property portals Zoopla, PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes.
The deal was backed by 31% of investors, including the company’s directors and the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), which holds a 29.9% stake in ZPG.
ZPG made a £1bn stock market flotation in 2014 and saw its shares jump 30% to 486.2p on the announcement of the deal.
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.”
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 added.