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United Kingdom 2018: The Team Elite

ZPG

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    United Kingdom 2018: The Team Elite

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    ZPG

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    Over the last three years, ZPG’s legal team has been at the centre of a transformation in the company’s activities. Since it floated on the London Stock Exchange as Zoopla in 2014, the company has increased its revenues three-fold and moved beyond its property listing origins by acquiring a number of businesses, including price comparison website uSwitch, financial services comparison website money.co.uk, property market research and data company Hometrack and Netherlands-based data analytics company Calcasa. In the last 12 months alone there have been five transactions, including complex competition components. ‘Our entire business has changed in a very short period,’ says ZPG GC and company secretary Ned Staple. ‘As a result, the type of work required by the legal team has changed with it. We now cover a much broader range of sectors, including energy, communications and financial services, which introduces a completely different set of regulatory and compliance requirements for the team to deal with.’ Travers Smith partner Andrew Gillen represented ZPG on a number of deals and says its in-house legal team is among the finest he has worked with. ‘For TMT lawyers the ability to adapt is key,’ says Gillen. ‘But the level of change they have managed to deal with is highly unusual. [Staple] has assembled a team of exceptional, young lawyers who have been critical to ZPG’s acquisition-led growth – both in terms of their first-rate transactional support and their post-deal integration and regulatory work.’ The team is young: two of its members are still in their twenties and Staple, the most experienced lawyer at the company, would qualify as a rising star were he not already GC. The team’s longestserving member behind Staple is legal counsel and assistant company secretary Angela Chow, who joined in 2014 after completing her training contract at Baker McKenzie. Amelia Guilfoyle left PwC in 2017 to take up the role of assistant GC following the departure of Katie Cosgrove (to become GC of online auto marketplace Carwow). South Africatrained Emily Inglis and former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer associate Michael Haynes joined in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Outside the legal team, head of regulation and compliance Richard Neudegg merits a mention for his work on a range of regulatory and policy issues facing digital comparison tools. Although several of the companies within ZPG’s portfolio are large enough to require a dedicated legal team of their own, Staple prefers the compact legal, regulatory and compliance team (eight members in total) to sit within the group central executive, working closely with senior management across all brands. ‘A lot of tech-enabled businesses anticipate growth by building spare capacity into their teams, but I’d be nervous about people becoming remote, or worse, disengaged. We have taken some very high-quality people out of private practice and their commitment levels are excellent. One of the main opportunities we can offer them is a huge diversity of work in an entrepreneurial environment, as well as independence in how they structure their workload to try and ensure that they can consistently perform at their best.’

     

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