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Xceligent Owner Writes Its Value Down To Zero, Is Reviewing All Business Options

Frank Anton, former CEO of Hanley Wood, now executive chairman of Xceligent

The parent company of Xceligent is undertaking a strategic review of options for the business and has written its carrying value down to zero.

London-listed Daily Mail and General Trust said in its results for the year to Sept. 30 that it was reviewing the future of Xceligent and had already decided to sell another U.S. property business, EDR.

The strategic review will be undertaken by DMGT and Xceligent's new management and will look at all potential options, the company said, with Xceligent's management leading the review.

DMGT said Xceligent had achieved double-digit growth but was still operating at a loss, that its progress was slower than anticipated and the level of investment needed for the business was high.

DMGT Chief Financial Officer Tim Collier said on a conference call for analysts and investors: "Xceligent is a loss-making business where we've been investing to expand across the U.S. We've literally been collecting data one city at a time, which is an incredibly labor-intensive business. The strategy was to generate revenue income in each local market and then create significant revenue once national scale had been achieved, and provide an alternative to the incumbent, CoStar.

"This year we expanded into the largest market, New York, and to be candid the revenue was disappointing. It will be a longer and more challenging path to profitability than anticipated. Given the timeline and the degree of investment required to become cash-generative I thought it prudent to fully impair the business.

"We've already taken steps to contain costs and brought in new management. We are working with them on a strategic review that will look at all the options and address and contain the current challenges."

Responding to a question on what the strategic review of Xceligent would entail, Collier said: "Every option is open. We've brought in a new management team and it is up to them to come back with their view about what we do going forward."

The write-down meant DMGT took an impairment charge (a reduction of its value) of £42M ($56M).

Xceligent has been in a legal battle with rival data firm CoStar. CoStar filed a lawsuit against Xceligent last December accusing it of theft of intellectual property. DMGT said it had paid £9M in legal costs relating to this.

Xceligent filed a countersuit in June alleging antitrust behavior from CoStar.

During the legal row, former Xceligent CEO Doug Curry was replaced by Frank Anton, who became executive chairman.

CORRECTION, DEC. 1, 11:35 A.M. ET:  An earlier version of this story stated DMGT was reviewing options for all five of its U.S. property businesses, including Buildfax, Trepp and SiteCompli. EDR is being sold, and a review of Xceligent is being undertaken, but the other three businesses are not under review. DMGT said it remained committed to the rest of its property portfolio.

Further reading: CoStar-Xceligent Mudslinging Wears Thin On U.S. Brokers

Xceligent Contractor Supports CoStar's Data Theft Claims

CoStar Goes Further Into Attack Mode After Xceligent Shakeup

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