Investors in eLocal Holdings LLC, which sells “pay per call” and “pay per lead” consumer sales leads for home repair, debt, addiction, and legal services firms, have agreed to sell their controlling 79% stake for $140 million to U.K.-based HomeServe PLC, a home-repair firm that specializes in protecting subscribers in emergencies.
A group led by Philadelphia-based LLR had invested $25 million in Conshohocken-based eLocal in 2017. LLR and eLocal managers will retain 21% of the company for now. HomeServe has an option to buy them out later.
Besides LLR, other eLocal investors included Bruce Aronow, eLocal’s CEO since its 2008 founding; his brother Andy Aronow, the company’s president; and Andy Kaplan, a former RiteAid real estate lawyer who is a partner with the Aronows in their real estate investment firm, Rockland Capital, of West Philadelphia.
The Aronows “will stay with the business and work closely with HomeServe founder and CEO Richard Harpin,” HomeServe said in a statement, adding that he expects to grow the combined firms rapidly.
Pretax profits for eLocal totaled $5.3 million last year and are projected to reach $9 million this year following its acquisition of Ring Router, a Pasadena, Calif., provider of “performance-based advertising in the form of pay-per-call programs” for national insurers and independent agents.
HomeServe hopes eLocal profits will rise to $16 million in 2021 as it expands its Home Experts repair business in the U.S. and Canada. The deal is expected to close in December, pending regulatory approval.
HomeServe has boosted sales, profits, and its share price in the five years since it was hit with a record U.K. fine of more than 30 million pounds for “mis-selling” home repair insurance and customer service complaints. It has recently purchased online home repair referral systems in the U.K. and Spain.
“The entire eLocal team is extremely excited to have been chosen as the platform to build the Home Experts business in the U.S.,” Bruce Aronow said in a statement.