Sale nets £6m for property website men

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The Independent Online

Daily Mail & General Trust, the publisher, has paid up to £13.8m for a property website that changed hands for £2.8m just five months ago.

Daily Mail & General Trust, the publisher, has paid up to £13.8m for a property website that changed hands for £2.8m just five months ago.

The deal makes millionaires of the four directors of Find a Property, which was founded in 1997. It claims to be the UK's largest independent real estate website. It is believed that management stands to collect 45 per cent of the purchase price, or £6.2m, under the terms of the deal.

The purchase price also represents a handsome payday for Barclays Capital, the private equity group that backed a management buyout in June.

Jeremy Morgan, at Barclays Ventures, said: "We paid a fair price for the business. The acquirer has paid what I'd call a strategic price, as it fits with their business.

"We didn't buy the business with this sort of [exit] timescale in mind. You can't predict when interested parties will come along."

Property advertising is one of the most important advertising categories at DMGT's newspapers, which include London's Evening Standard. The directors of findaproperty.com are Simon D'Urso, Neil Anderson, Bernard Hewitt, and David Garrett - the last two have agreed to stay on under DMGT ownership.

Barclays Capital bought the business for £2.8m in June, including debt. The £13.8m deal struck now comprises a £9.2m in cash up-front, £1.8m in loan notes issued to management, with the rest coming from an earn-out.

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