LegalZoom Gains $2 Billion Valuation in Funding Round

LegalZoom.com Inc., an online platform for connecting small business owners to legal services, raised $500 million at a $2 billion valuation to help pay out some investors.

Francisco Partners, GPI Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments and Neuberger Berman participated in the round, Chief Executive Officer John Suh said in an interview. Venture investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Institutional Venture Partners are selling shares in the deal, though they’re both maintaining the majority of their stakes, according to a spokeswoman for LegalZoom.

The deal signals LegalZoom has come far since its aborted initial public offering, which was slated to value the company at an upper limit of about $440 million in 2012. The IPO was shelved and private equity firm Permira Holdings LLP swooped in with a large investment in 2014. Permira is also selling some of its stake in this transaction, but remains the company’s largest shareholder, LegalZoom said in a statement.

Glendale, California-based LegalZoom is increasing revenue at about 20 percent a year with profit margins above 20 percent, Suh said. The purpose of the deal was primarily to give existing investors some liquidity and to bring in new backers with a long investment horizon. LegalZoom could still carry out an IPO at some point in the future and having investors used to the public markets, like Francisco and Franklin Templeton, could help down the line, Suh said.

“I’d love to have their expertise and guidance,” he said.

LegalZoom connects small businesses and individuals with its network of more than 1,000 lawyers to help them write wills, set up new companies and secure intellectual property protections. It expanded into the U.K. in 2015, where it now makes $20 million in revenue annually. The company’s next move will be a push into Australia and other parts of Europe, Suh said.