VC-backed Zoopla in merger deal

Online property website Zoopla is merging with The Digital Property Group, a business owned by the holding company of the Daily Mail newspaper.

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London-based Zoopla, which is backed by venture capital firms including Octopus Ventures and Atlas Ventures, will now join forces with websites Findaproperty.com and Primelocation.com as it looks to take on the market heavyweight Rightmove.com.

Rightmove.com is reported to have an 80 per cent UK market share, with Zoopla founder and chief executive, Alex Chesterman, saying that the deal will now allow the business to compete effectively in a market where it takes ‘significant investment’ to challenge the current market leader.

Zoopla provides information such as sold house prices and current value estimates for residential properties in the UK, as well as sales listings.

Chief executive officer of Digital Property Group, Mark Milner, says the focus will remain on providing ‘market-leading’ products for its users, with the ‘combined strengths’ of the newly merged companies allowing for this.

Under the terms of the deal, A&N Media (the consumer arm of The Digital Property Group) is to hold onto a 55 per cent stake in the newly merged entity.

In 2009, Zoopla secured a £3.75 million round of new funding through Octopus and Atlas, a year after the property website launched.

The 2009 deal took Zoopla’s total fundraising to £5.5 million, with much of the capital used to develop the company’s technology platform and boost its marketing efforts.

Zoopla’s founder Chesterman previously co-founded ScreenSelect.co.uk, which later rebranded as LOVEFiLM.com before being sold to online entertainment retailer Amazon.

Other backers of Zoopla include Nauiokas Park and angel investors Sherry Coutu, Simon Murdoch and Andy Phillips.

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