LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--118 Group Ltd, the UK’s leading business database owner and the company behind business listings found on every search engine, today announces it has attracted investment from Pricoa Capital Group (“Pricoa”), the private debt and risk capital investment arm of PGIM, Inc., the global investment management business of Prudential Financial, Inc.
118 Group was set up in 2008 by entrepreneurs Paul Spinks and Patrick Bradshaw, who will maintain significant stakes in the business. The Group is the owner of the UK’s only business database of its kind, supplying information under license to credit reference agencies, mapping companies and every major search engine. The Group also operates a B2B marketing division, trading as Market Location.
The transaction provides shareholder liquidity and enables greater ownership of the Group to be in the hands of the extended management team who will continue to drive the business forward.
Pricoa was chosen as an investment partner due to its relationship approach and ability to structure a bespoke transaction addressing the full capital requirement to achieve the founders’ objectives. The Pricoa investment comprised Senior Debt, a Senior Accordion, Subordinated Notes and Preferred Equity. Pricoa was the sole capital provider.
Commenting on the deal, co-founder and joint-CEO Patrick Bradshaw said: “Early on we spotted the potential for licensing good quality business data, underpinned by a commitment to accuracy that has propelled the growth of the company into the success it is today. We have now become a critical part of the infrastructure that underpins business searches on the internet. Our company has experienced exceptional growth over the past few years enabling us to partner with a blue-chip organisation such as Pricoa. The transaction has delivered us liquidity whilst allowing 118 Group to fulfill the next stage in its growth trajectory.”
Paul Spinks, co-founder and joint-CEO, continued: “In an increasingly digital world the secret to our success has been rigorous commitment to the checking and rechecking of data, which involves 10,000 validation phone calls every day to UK businesses. Over the years we have created a unique database which maps almost the entire universe of UK businesses. The advent of mobile technology and explosion of ‘near me’ searches have seen the need for pin point accurate geo-location data increase exponentially – the world has come a long way from business directories and we are providing the data to fuel that change.”
Donald Campbell, Senior Vice President at Pricoa in London, added: “We have built a strong relationship with Paul and Patrick and we look forward to supporting them and the rest of the team as they enter the next phase of 118 Group’s development and expansion”.
Richard Fetterman, Partner at Livingstone who advised 118 Group on the transaction, said: “118 Group is a special business with a leading market position, strong financial fundamentals and exciting growth prospects. We believe that Pricoa is the ideal fit, both culturally and in terms of facilitating the next phase of growth and we are confident that, with Pricoa’s support, Paul, Patrick and the team will go on to achieve great things”
Advisers to the transaction included Livingstone Partners LLP, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
Notes for Editors:
118 Group is the UK’s leading business database owner and the key agency for business directory information. This privately owned company updates and maintains a database of almost 2 million UK business records and is based in Sutton Coldfield, employing 90+ staff. 118 Group:
- makes c. 3 million calls every year
- contacts every record at least once every 12 months
- invests in a UK based call centre
118 Information have many prestigious clients including the most recognised UK voice directory enquiry provider, the world’s most recognised search engines and the largest UK telecom services provider. They supply data wholesale for licensing and for data sales and analytics.
Pricoa Capital Group is a trading name of PGIM, Inc., the principal asset management business of Prudential Financial, Inc. Prudential Financial, Inc. of the United States is not affiliated with Prudential plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom. In the United Kingdom and various other jurisdictions in Europe certain investment activities are carried out by Pricoa Capital Group Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.