Search provider MDA Searchflow announces sale by parent

MDA the Canadian business providing satellite technology to conveyancing search data announced on Friday that it had agreed terms to sell its UK and North American Information Products division to TPG Capital for net cash proceeds of Can$850M.

The UK brands included are MDA Searchflow Ltd, MDA Hub ltd, xit2 limited, Rochford Brady Group and Miller and Bruyce. This group supplies official and personal local authority conveyancing searches to conveyancers, provides anti money laundering checks, runs the NLIS/Land Data Hub and provides infrastructure to instruct and report on surveys and valuations amongst other residential property services.

The Vancouver Sun quotes Dan Friedman the CEO of MDA as saying “"It was pretty clear that this [property information] business, which we built up from scratch, had grown to a point where it was best with a separate owner,"

The Information Products business is being sold to TPG Capital a North American private equity investment business with over $47 billion of capital under management.

The transaction is likely to complete early next year but is subject to regulatory approval which is expected to be a formality in this transaction.

Stuart Pearce Group Managing Director for MDA Information Products (UK and I) said “TPG is a world class investment company with deep skill sets and experience that will help us achieve our ambitious plans for growth over the next few years

I am looking forward to working with TPG and harnessing their unique investment insight to create long term value for all the stakeholders in our business. Our customers should see a strong focus on developing new products and services and working with them to help provide solutions to their needs both now and in the future."

Bryan Taylor, a partner at TPG Capital said: "We are very excited about investing in these high-quality property information assets. MDA and the respective management teams have done an excellent job growing these companies. This investment fits very well within our broader data services portfolio, and we look forward to working with management in the US, Europe, and Canada to continue growing these businesses."

The market for searches has changed substantially following the removal of HIPS. HIPS themselves resulted in additional searches being carried out and therefore the market size has reduced. Additional when a conveyancer procures a search they seem more likely to use an official search compared to a HIP provider. Like all search businesses MDA Searchflow with TPG are likely to be looking to exploit new opportunities and it will be interesting to see what they come up with.

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