LegalZoom Decides Against IPO


LegalZoom plans to sell $200 million worth of its privately held shares to an affiliate of a British private equity fund, rather than go public as previously announced, the company said Monday.

The Glendale company, which sells online legal services and documents to small businesses and individuals, reached a financing deal with Permira, a London private equity firm that plans to take a majority stake in LegalZoom.

A company backed by Permira launched a $200 million tender offer for an undisclosed number of the privately held shares on Dec. 30. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of the quarter.

LegalZoom plans to use the funds for acquisitions and new products. It is withdrawing its previously filed S-1 initial public offering prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The Permira funds’ backing strengthens LegalZoom’s ability to move forward with its significant growth plans, which include potential acquisitions in both the U.S. and abroad,” said LegalZoom in a statement.

Permira, as majority stockholder, will have the right to appoint a majority of the board. Brian Ruder, a Permira partner, and Dipan Patel, a Permira principal, will be among the appointees.

LegalZooms existing management and original venture backers will continue to own stakes in the company. They include Polaris Venture Partners, Institutional Venture Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The company did not disclose the number of shares being sold, nor disclose what stake Permira will have once the transaction is complete.

Permira, founded in 1985, entered the U.S. market in 2002 and has offices in New York and Menlo Park. It is backed by pension funds and other institutional investors. Since 1997, about 30 percent of the firm’s funds have been in the technology, media and telecom sectors.

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