Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has provided a £37.5million funding package to Zoopla Property Group Plc (ZPG), to support its acquisition of uSwitch. The deal will enable ZPG to lead the next phase of innovation across the property portal space and create a single platform where consumers can research, find and manage their home.
The deal sees Lloyds Bank, in a club of four alongside HSBC, RBS and Barclays, contributing to a five-year revolving credit facility totalling £150million. The funding will enable ZPG to meet the upfront £160million cost of the uSwitch acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, while providing the firm with the cash-flow it needs to build a new integrated service.
The acquisition of uSwitch is a significant step in ZPG’s mission to be the most useful resource for consumers and the most effective marketing partner for professionals across the property space. Both consumer brands have ranked among the fastest-growing technology businesses of the past few years with ZPG reporting revenues of £80.2million for the year ended September 2014, and uSwitch revenues of £62.9million for the year ended 31 December 2014.
Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Area Director, Simon Bumfrey, commented: “With this acquisition, we have seen two of the UK’s most successful digital businesses combine to provide a single platform for consumers to research, find and manage their home. Investment in innovation and in digital businesses is not just vital to the property sector, but to the UK economy as a whole. This is why Lloyds is proud to be associated with this transaction and continue our support of the wider technology sector.”
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The combined group will not only offer a single resource for consumers, but it will enable Zoopla Property Group to benefit commercially from an enhanced offering to advertisers. Lloyds Bank is uSwitch’s sole banker, and the company’s largest shareholder was LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group.
Director at Mid Markets Strategic Finance, Nick Hughes, said: “Zoopla Property Group has implemented an acquisition led growth strategy that has propelled them from a promising start-up to an industry leader. uSwitch have been a long-standing customer of Lloyds Bank, and like Zoopla Property Group it’s also one of the UK’s biggest digital success stories. Therefore as Zoopla Property Group looked to embark on its most ambitious acquisition yet, we were eager to provide our financial support and expertise to bring together two of our biggest consumer brands.”
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of Zoopla Property Group Plc, added: “This transformational acquisition will enable us to remain at the forefront of innovation within our industry, and it’s a significant step towards realising our aim of becoming the market-leading resource for consumers. For such an ambitious plan, the right funding needs to be in place. We couldn’t have carried it through without the financial backing of Lloyds Bank and our other banking partners.”