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ZPG to be sold for £2.2 billion to international private equity firm

The huge deal, which appears to be led by ZPG major shareholder DMGT, owner of the Daily Mail, will see all shares hoovered up by Silver Lake Management Company.

Nigel lewis

ZPG has announced that it is to be bought by a major US private equity firm that, assuming the deal goes through, will complete this Autumn.

The buyer is Bidco Zephyr, a recently set-up London subsidiary of private equity firm Silver Lake Management Company which has made an offer to buy all the portal company’s shares for £2.2 billion.

But the deal has the paw prints of DMGT, the owner of the Daily Mail, all over it and the announcement today about the proposed sale was lead by the company, which owns approximately 30% of ZPG’s shares and is its largest shareholder, and has none of the usual comment from ZPG CEO Alex Chesterman.

43% premium

DMGT and the other shareholders of Zoopla’s parent company are to be paid £4.90p per share, way more than its current trading price of approximately £3.80, or a premium of 43%.

This will almost guarantee the portal’s major shareholders will vote the sale through. The Daily Mail alone is to make £642 million from the deal.

ZPG’s board, which includes two representatives from Daily Mail parent company DMGT, has recommended the deal to shareholders.

The move, DMGT says, is to reduce the number of companies it invests in and generate more cash as its core news business faces a difficult media market.

“The recommended all cash offer for ZPG promises to deliver a very significant return for DMGT,” says its Chief Executive Paul Zwillenberg (pictured).

“The sale of our stake, pending shareholder approval at ZPG, fits with our long track record of successfully identifying new opportunities, incubating young businesses and supporting their growth to create value for shareholders.”

More: Read how ZPG’s shares have been rising sharply recently.

May 11, 2018

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