Online portal Zoopla buys Property Software Group for £75 million
Online property portal Zoopla has stepped up the pressure on its market rivals by snapping up an estate agency software firm for £75 million.
The company said the takeover of The Property Software Group (PSG) will be a "game-changer" in the industry, as it will gain access to back-office software used in 8,000 estate agency branches across the UK.
The firm has bought the business from LDC - the private equity arm of Lloyd's Banking Group - which backed a £17.8 million management buy-out by PSG from the Guardian Media Group in 2013.
Zoopla said the deal will allow it to bring new revenue opportunities to the UK property industry with the first end-to-end service of estate agency software, digital marketing and market insight tools.
Shares in Zoopla were up just under 2%, as it also confirmed its full-year results would come in at the "higher end of expectations" after a drop in energy prices bolstered its price comparison website uSwitch.
Chief executive and founder Alex Chesterman said the deal would transform services for UK agents and consumers.
He added: "Our ambition has always been to be the most effective partner to the UK property industry and this deal will allow us to work more closely with our agent partners and offer them an even more compelling service."
PSG was launched in 2007 and provides work-flow tools to 40,000 estate and letting agents across the UK.
The software includes day-to-day management of inventory, diary management and business reporting tools.
As part of the takeover, PSG chief executive Mark Goddard will join Zoopla as managing director of the group's property services division.
However, t he deal is subject to the cancellation of PSG's existing consumer credit licence or the FCA's approval of the change of control.
It comes after Zoopla bought uSwitch in £165 million deal last year.
Mr Goddard added: " We've had a long-standing relationship with the team at Zoopla and are incredibly excited to continue our journey as part of their growth and innovation story."
LDC invested £350 million of equity into 14 businesses last year. In February, it backed a £175 million secondary buy-out of the same-day parcel delivery firm CitySprint.
Analysts at Jefferies said the "acquisition will ultimately lead to less complexity and more services for Zoopla and PSG's customers".