DFJ Esprit earns some TLC with fourth exit

Venture capital firm DFJ Esprit is in bullish mood after selling The Listening Company (TLC), a communications outsourcer, to UK conglomerate Serco for £55.9 million.

The exit is the fourth for DFJ Esprit this year, following the sales of LoveFilm, The Cloud, and another unannounced deal. It also marks the seventh in the past 12 months.

DFJ Esprit chief executive Simon Cook comments, ‘We have begun the year with a bang. While the global economy has been challenging, our series of exits over the past year shows there is still a strong exit route for venture-backed companies.’

According to a statement from the firm, the sale represents a fivefold return on DFJ Esprit’s investment. Founded in 1998 and led by chief executive Neville Upton, TLC provides customer relationship management, call centre and telemarketing services.

Cook adds, ‘The US VC exit market has had a fantastic rebound in the last 12 months and we are starting to see that here in Europe’.

With sales of £74 million and pre-tax profits of nearly £4 million, TLC is one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the UK, according to a ranking produced by GrowthBusiness sister title Business XL.

Todd Cardy

Adelbert Swaniawski

Todd was Editor of GrowthBusiness.co.uk between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital. Connect with...

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