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ZPG soars as overseas bidder spies FTSE value

Shares in Daily Mail-backed property website operator surge 30% on bid from US private equity firm. FTSE 100 rises, notching seventh week of gains.

 
ZPG soars as overseas bidder spies FTSE value

A £2 billion bid for property website operator ZPG (ZPG) from US private equity firm Silver Lake grabbed investors’ attention as the ongoing M&A theme underlined the value in the UK stock market to overseas buyers.

Shares in ZPG, which owns the Zoopla and PrimeLocation property search websites and the uSwitch utility price comparison website, soared 30%, or 114p, to 489p after Sliver Lakes’ offer of 490p per share in cash was accepted.

Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGOa), the newspaper publisher that owns nearly 30% of ZPG, backed the deal and saw its shares gain 2.2%.

ZPG directors, who own 1.2% of the firm, said in a statement they considered the terms ‘fair and reasonable’.

California-based Silver Lake Partners is a technology investor with $39 billion under management, according to its website. It described ZPG as a great growth technology story with its websites and apps attracting over 50 million visits a month.

The surprise bid extends a theme of mergers and acquisitions which this week has seen Shire fall to a bid from Takeda of Japan and challenger bank CYBG bid for rival Virgin Money.

ZPG was the biggest riser on the UK stock market with the FTSE All-Share index 13 points or 0.3% to 4,242.

Meanwhile the FTSE 100 advanced 23 points of 0.3% to 7,724, achieving its seventh consecutive week of gains, having risen 12% from 6,888 on 26 March after a rough patch at the start of the year.

ITV (ITV) stormed 7% or 12 points higher to 172p, the FTSE’s biggest riser, in response to a share price target increase from JP Morgan which said the broadcaster’s growing viewing share made its valuation attractive.

Utilities Severn Trent (SVT) and United Utilities (UU) weighed on the index as both fell around 2% in response to Bernstein analysts cutting the former to ‘underperform’ and dropping their price target on the latter. In its note the analysts cited intensifying efforts by the water regulator to cap dividends and borrowing.

 

 

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