Octopus backed Zoopla Property Group, a digital media business, reaches $1.56 billion valuation on flotation

Digital media business Zoopla Property Group Plc (ZPG) today announced that it had reached a $1.56 billion (£919 million) valuation as it priced its Initial Public Offering ahead of Admission to the London Stock Exchange on Monday 23 June. The successful IPO delivers significant returns for Octopus investors.

As an early investor in ZPG, Octopus, one of the UK’s leading retail fund management companies specialising in smaller company investing, has had a strong relationship with founders Alex Chesterman and Simon Kain having invested in their previous business LOVEFiLM.

Alex Macpherson, head of the Ventures team at Octopus, said: “We’re really proud to have invested in Zoopla Property Group when the business was still very young and faced numerous challenges to succeed, at a time when the property market in the UK was at its lowest ebb and the economic environment looked very poor. We believed in Alex and Simon from the beginning and have been thrilled to see the business grow explosively over the last six years. Today’s flotation is testament to their vision and hard work, and we are extremely grateful to the whole team for this success. We now look forward to continuing to support the company in this exciting next stage of its development.”

Octopus originally invested in 2009 through its Octopus Titan Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and the Octopus Eureka Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS). Zoopla Property Group’s IPO highlights how VCTs and EIS can play a meaningful role in backing early stage business that have the ability to develop into billion dollar businesses. VCTs and EIS were introduced by the government in 1995 and 1993 respectively to encourage investment into the smaller companies in the UK through offering approved tax benefits for investors. Since their introduction, they have matured to become valuable and effective sources of funding which can help early stage businesses realise their growth potential. As the largest investor in EIS and VCTs in the UK, Octopus has a strong and proven track record of backing talented teams looking to build big businesses like Zoopla Property Group.

Alex Macpherson comments: “VCTs and EIS are now mature and established investments that combine attractive government approved tax reliefs with the growth potential that early stage businesses can offer. They are valuable and effective sources of funding for smaller companies in the UK which, coupled with the partnership we create with management teams, helps these businesses realise their growth potential.

“The Zoopla Property Group flotation shows that VCTs and EIS are doing exactly what the government intended them to do – helping to build and support the next generation of successful businesses in the UK – and we are very pleased to play an active part in that. The enterprise market in this country is thriving at the moment, and we have some really exciting and dynamic businesses in our portfolio with bright futures ahead of them.”

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