To celebrate its 25th anniversary of leading corporate finance deals, HMT is reminiscing on 10 notable transactions from its 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 the arrival of new technologies, Mark Goddard, who joined GMG at its very beginning, saw an opportunity to consolidate the business from a desktop player to a SaaS business.
Goddard decided to lead an MBO process to acquire the business from Guardian Media Group in order to realise his ambitious plan. The management buyout 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 Goddard and LDC acquired GMG for £17.8 million and the company rebranded under the name, 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. Goddard had been very impressed with HMT’s ability to understand the business and attention to detail during the MBO process. 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 Property Software Group.
At the beginning of 2016, Zoopla showed interest in the business. A few months later, LDC, Goddard and the management team sold The Property Software Group to property giant Zoopla plc (now ZPG plc) for £75m creating a great return on investment for all shareholders.
Following the disposal of Property Software Group, Goddard 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.