New York IPO: LegalZoom to build awareness

LegalZoom, the leading US online legal documents service, is to boost its plans to open in the UK this year with a public listing in New York that aims to raise $120m (£75m).

Publishing its prospectus on Friday, LegalZoom said international expansion was one of the main reasons for going public.

“We believe that our online legal platform represents a compelling value proposition to small businesses and consumers globally,” it said. “We plan to partner with legal services providers outside of the United States to expand our operations internationally.

“We believe that the strength of our brand, focus on customer care, deep understanding of the legal needs of small businesses and consumers, and scalable technology will help us successfully enter markets outside of the United States.”

As first reported on Legal Futures last year, LegalZoom is to launch in the UK towards the end of 2012; we understand that those plans are still on track.

The other goals are to expand and improve the company’s services, leverage and grow its subscription legal plans, and “continue to build a trusted brand and drive awareness of our services”.

LegalZoom said it will do this by enhancing its marketing activities. “We plan to continue to make significant investments in marketing campaigns, including through online, television and radio advertising to enhance our ability to acquire new customers and increase customer retention.”

The prospectus shows that LegalZoom sold 490,000 documents to consumers and small businesses in 2011, a 12% increase on the year before, and saw a 29% rise in revenues to $156m. It made $12m in profits in 2011, having made losses in the previous two years.

It had 228,000 subscribers – both paid-for and free – who generated 18% of the company’s income. In all it has served around two million customers over the last decade.

The prospectus said the business is evolving from primarily a transaction model to a combined transaction and subscription model. “As a result, we expect that subscription revenues as a percentage of our total revenues will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.”

 

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