Tenant referencing firm snapped up by Rightmove

A Newcastle-based provider of tenant referencing services and rent guarantee insurance products has been acquired by property website Rightmove. North East dealmakers worked on the multimillion-pound transaction.

Van Mildert’s software enables letting agents to order, track and receive tenant references. The business, which is well positioned within the rental marketplace, reported unaudited net revenues of £3.6m and pre-tax profit of £1.4m for the year to 30 November 2018, both up 19 per cent.  

Rightmove will pay an initial £16m alongside deferred consideration based on the revenue performance of the business which is capped at £4m.

The products and operational experience of the company are expected to augment the Rightmove Tenant Passport proposition and Rightmove’s aims for what it said was an under-served rental marketplace.

Van Mildert’s founder, Christian Balshen, will continue to lead the Van Mildert team from its Newcastle office and work to leverage the scale benefits that the Rightmove platform can bring.

The transaction is subject to FCA change of control regulatory approval and is anticipated to complete by 31 October 2019.

Rightmove chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson said: “We believe the combination of Rightmove’s unrivalled reach and Van Mildert’s products and operational experience will augment the Rightmove Tenant Passport, helping in our quest to make renting a property faster, easier and more efficient for tenants, landlords, and agents alike.”

Van Mildert was advised by RG Corporate Finance’s head of corporate finance Carl Swansbury and corporate finance manager David Nixon, with accounting and tax advice from RG partner Deborah Graham and senior manager Stephen Callaghan. 

Additional tax advice has been provided by Field Fisher with legal advice from Katherine Hay-Heddle, corporate partner at Ward Hadaway.

Carl Swansbury, Insider’s current Dealmaker of the Year, added: “This acquisition marks an important milestone in the growth of Van Mildert, which RG Corporate Finance has supported for more than seven years.  

“Working closely with Christian and his team we have seen how the business is fulfilling its potential making it attractive to investors, initially through private equity and now with this acquisition by Rightmove, which can deliver increased opportunities and market share for the company.”

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