Private equity backing for £17.8m buyout of GMG group

PRIVATE equity firm LDC has backed the £17.8m management buyout of GMG Property Services Group,

The £10m-turnover company is a leading provider of software, technology and design services to estate agents.

Guardian Media Group founded the business in 2007. It will be rebranded as The Property Software Group.

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The company employs 170 people across operations in York, Redruth, Luton and Wolverhampton. It is headquartered in Luton.

LDC is taking a “significant” undisclosed stake, investing alongside the management team led by chief executive Mark Goddard.

Mr Goddard said: “LDC’s investment reflects their confidence in our future potential.

“We anticipate that LDC’s support will allow us to further strengthen our market leading position, invest for future growth both organically and through acquisitions, as well as continuing the provision of high quality service for all our customers, existing and new.”

The group owns and licences four key software brands: CFP Software, which specialises in supplying lettings, property management, accounting and estate agency software; Vebra Solutions, a leading provider of software solutions for property professionals; Core Systems, a leading provider of innovative software for residential estate agents; and Alto, the newly launched, market-leading software-as-a-service estate agency software offering.

Yann Souillard, managing Director at LDC’s office in Reading, led the deal. He said: “In Property Software Group, we are partnering with a high-quality management team and a market-leading business which has a strong platform from which to generate further growth through Alto.

“The business provides a premium service to its customer base of residential agents and property managers, and is supported by a well invested infrastructure.

“Going forward, we will work closely with the team to identify acquisition opportunities to accelerate growth and lead consolidation of the market.”

Silicon Valley Bank provided the debt on the deal.

The transaction allows Guardian Media Group to exit the business.

Andrew Miller, chief executive, said: “Since forming the Property Services Group in 2007, GMG has successfully incorporated a series of assets from across the property industry and grown them into one market-leading group.

“It is now right that LDC, Mark Goddard and the current Property Services Group management team take this consolidated entity into the future and that GMG continues to focus on investing in the core part of our business, Guardian News and Media.”

The publisher of the Guardian cut its annual losses by 30 per cent to £30.9m in the year ending March 2013, as growing digital revenues helped offset the continuing decline in income from print operations.

The Property Services Group employs 60 people in York.