Jan 6 (Reuters) – Private equity fund manager Permira Advisers LLC is planning to take a controlling stake in LegalZoom.com, a provider of online legal documents that was going to go public, according to people familiar with the matter, affiliated news service Reuters reported.
Under the terms of the transaction, a company newly formed by Permira is expected to acquire more than $200 million of the outstanding equity of LegalZoom through a tender offer launched on Dec. 30, the people said.
Venture capital-backed LegalZoom has decided to withdraw previous plans for an initial public offering in favor of a deal with Permira, which is expected to close in the first quarter, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.
Permira declined comment and LegalZoom was not immediately available for comment.
LegalZoom, founded in 2001, is the leading company in the market for online legal documents for families and small businesses including copyrights, business formation, wills, patents, power of attorney and pre-nuptial agreements.
Permira is banking on growing demand for easy and affordable access to legal documents and the legal advice to go with it, in a market estimated to be worth $90 billion in the United States including offline services.
In addition to the United States, Europe-based Permira sees an opportunity to expand business in Europe, where it can build on its network and where the legal environment is more relaxed, the people said.
Permira will also likely pursue further acquisitions in order to accelerate or complement LegalZoom’s growth, the people said.
LegalZoom’s management team will remain in place and its largest shareholders, which include Polaris Venture Partners, Institutional Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers will remain on board as well.
On the Permira side, Brian Ruder and Dipan Patel are expected to become directors of the board after the deal closes.
Permira has made a number of acquisitions in the United States. It previously acquired technology-based student assessment firm Renaissance Learning, automated material handling solutions provider Intelligrated, and software maker Genesys, as well as genealogy website Ancestry.com.
Nicola Leske is a reporter for Reuters News in New York
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