The details of the transaction have not been disclosed.
In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Mobeus invested £4.5 million to enable ATG, at that time, a small publishing business called Antiques Trade Gazette, to spin out from the Daily Mail & General Trust Group and start up in the UK online auction platform market. Mobeus provided an additional £4.5 million to finance the acquisition of US-based BidSpotter five years later and, following rapid growth, partially realised its investment in 2014 to a secondary buyout financed by ECI Partners. As part of that deal, Mobeus rolled over a significant proportion of its holding to participate in the future growth of the business.
Over the 11 ½ year hold period, the business has been transformed into a high-tech provider of transactional marketplace technology, expanding into both new verticals and new geographies, driven by the consumer shift online, as well as the business’s powerful combination of market leading technology and strong brand recognition.
The ATG sale represents a return of 4.5x cost of £9 million to the Mobeus VCTs; a 29% IRR.
Ed Wass, Mobeus Portfolio Director, who sat on the ATG board, commented, “This is a magnificent UK growth story that Mobeus is very proud to be a part of. We are thrilled for the team at ATG, who continue to deliver on their international expansion strategy through a keen focus on their core mission, an astute M&A programme and continued investment in new technology.”
“We are incredibly excited by this sale that will give us the resources to invest in better tools for auctioneers and accelerate investment in marketing, which we believe will bring a steady stream of new online bidders. We are very grateful to Mobeus, which has been a long-term partner to ATG and has supported us in transforming the business from its roots in publishing to the high-tech platform it is today.”John-Paul Savant, ATG CEO