Share prices of the property portals start the week at new highs after the sale of ZPG for £2.2bn to an American equity company was announced on Friday.
Shares in ZPG itself shot up during the day 30.6%, or 114.8p, to 490p. The 490p figure is significant as this was described as a 30% premium to be paid by Silver Lake to ZPG shareholders in announcing its purchase – the shares lost little to no time in making up the gap on Friday.
Its competitors were also beneficiaries of the news.
Shares in Rightmove soared almost 4%, to 4,779p, giving the company a market capitalisation of £4.2bn – almost double that of ZPG’s sale price, and begging the question of who could afford to buy Rightmove, assuming it would even consider a sale.
OnTheMarket’s share price was boosted by nearly 8%, taking the shares to 150p. However, that is still below the 165p anticipated at launch on the AIM market back in February.
Over the weekend, there has been speculation that the Silver Lake/ZPG deal was hammered out over the course of just a few days, and that ZPG’s major shareholder, Daily Mail owners DMGT, had not been looking to sell but has committed to selling its 29.8% stake in a deal netting it a £640m-plus windfall.
Altogether, the Daily Mail reported at the weekend, a successful takeover of ZPG by Silver Lake would take DMGT’s returns from its investment to £8890m – more than 14 times what it put in. DMGT shares also moved up – but by surprisingly little, at just 1.3%.
DMGT became involved in property portals in 2004, when it bought FindaProperty. It then acquired PrimeLocation in 2006. The businesses were ‘merged’ with Zoopla in 2012, with DMGT at that stage having a 55% majority stake. On Zoopla’s flotation in 2014, DMGT sold shares worth £182m.
In 2004, DMGT bought Findaproperty, before buying PrimeLocation in 2006 and merging them with Zoopla in 2012 for a 55% stake in the combined business. DMGT sold down shares in ZPG worth £182m in June 2014 when the company floated.
The Mail also reported that Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, 48, will pick up almost £62m in the Silver Lake deal.
Chesterman, who launched Zoopla in 2007, has more than 12.5m shares and options in ZPG. Under the terms of the 490p a share bid for the company by Silver Lake, these would be worth £61.5m.
The Mail’s story clarified that Chesterman will stay on as chief executive of ZPG after the takeover. The successful entrepreneur sold DVD rental service Love Film to Amazon in 2011 for £200m, a huge coup but one that is now dwarfed by the £2.2bn offer for ZPG.
The Financial Times says that Chesterman made £33.6m when Zoopla listed on the stock exchange in 2014, as well as a further £40 from the sale of shares between 2015 and 2017.
Other property share prices seem to have been neither shaken nor stirred by the ZPG sale announcement, moving only marginally on Friday. For example, Foxtons shares dropped by 0.27% and Savills by 1.6%. Shares in Countrywide went up just over 1%, to finish at around 115p.
Nor do the portal wars look like ending soon – with OnTheMarket making clear how quickly it intends building scale.