An AIM-listed provider of online B2B platforms – which white labels MoneySupermarket’s conveyancer search – has bought Conveyancing Alliance (CA) for an initial £7.2m as part of its strategy to become the country’s leading handler of conveyancing.
ULS Technology said around half of all conveyancing is bought by consumers following estate agent recommendations and this deal would help it penetrate that market.
It currently works with lenders and mortgage advisers, giving them access to a panel of 200 conveyancers through its eConveyancer system. ULS also owns 35% of leading property website Homeowners Alliance, which was expected to receive 5m visits last year.
CA operates under three separate brands, Conveyancing Alliance and Agency Convey, targeted at estate agents, and Broker Conveyancing, for mortgage brokers.
Estate agents and mortgage brokers submit new cases via Conveyancing Alliance’s software platform, which then enables them to select and instruct from a panel of solicitors. “The end pricing to customers is highly competitive and typically cheaper than that secured from high street firms,” ULS told the stock market.
In addition to the initial price, the owners of ULS can make an extra £5.3m from an earn-out until 31 March 2019.
CA’s revenue was £4.4m in the year ended 31 December 2015, 16% up on 2014, with profit before tax increasing 17% to £949,000 over the same period.
The statement said: “The management team are committed to continue growing the business and will have a special focus on pursuing new growth in the estate agency sector, complementing and supporting ULS Technology’s core strategy and objectives.
“The directors believe this acquisition delivers ULS significant new growth opportunities in its conveyancing business and supports its stated strategy to become the leading handler of conveyancing in the UK.
“In particular, this acquisition significantly increases the company’s share of the conveyancing market and further diversifies conveyancing revenue sources. The acquisition is also in line with ULS’ strategy to penetrate the estate agent introducer market.”
ULS has built and piloted an estate agency performance website (www.estateagent4me.co.uk) in order to grow its conveyancing market share. This is already provided directly to customers via the HomeOwners Alliance but will also now be used to help CA grow its volumes in the estate agency sector.
ULS chief executive Ben Thompson said: “This acquisition is central to our strategy of growing market share in the UK conveyancing market and pursuing further growth via introductions from the estate agency market. Conveyancing Alliance has shown a strong track record of revenue and profit growth and fits neatly within ULS Technology and its plans for the future.
“Currently ULS has little presence in this sector, which is one of the reasons that the strategic fit with Conveyancing Alliance is so strong. Our combined offering is intended to provide highly competitive pricing and a modern technology service that makes customers’ lives easier, enabling them to complete a home move painlessly and more quickly.”