The MBO of Property Software Group
To celebrate its 25th anniversary of leading corporate finance deals, HMT is reminiscing on 10 notable transactions from our archives. Having completed over 500 deals, producing a shortlist of 10 has not been easy but the MBO of Property Software Group led by CEO Mark Goddard has certainly made the list.
Part of Guardian Media Group, GMG Property Services, was created in 2006 and quickly became the UK’s largest supplier of software, technology and design solutions to the property industry with four market leading software brands, web design services and a consumer facing property portal.
With the arrival of new technologies and cloud computing early 2010s, Mark Goddard, who joined GMG at its very beginning, saw an opportunity to reshape and consolidate the business from a desktop player to a SaaS business.
Mark decided to lead an MBO process to acquire the business from Guardian Media Group in order to realise his ambitious plan. The management buy-out was supported by private equity firm LDC who introduced HMT to the transaction as due diligence providers. In December 2013, the management team led by Mark and LDC acquired GMG for £17.8 million and the company rebranded under the name The Property Software Group.
LDC and the management team started their plan to consolidate the market and transition from a desktop-based to a SaaS business, with a series of acquisitions. Mark had been very impressed with HMT’s ability to understand the business and attention to details during the MBO process. Therefore, he decided to appoint HMT again to advise on the bolt-on acquisition of estate agency software system Jupix which was a “transformational deal” for The Property Software Group.
At the beginning of 2016, The Property Software Group had reached their growth ambitions and Zoopla showed interest the business. A few months later, LDC, Mark and the management team sold The Property Software Group to property giant Zoopla Plc (now ZPG Plc) for £75 million creating a great return on investment for all shareholders.
Following the disposal of Property Software Group, Mark started a new role at ZPG and is now in charge of software and portal operations. ZPG continues to grow by making a series of acquisitions including the purchase of the financial services comparison website Money.co.uk acquired in September 2017.