Is IPO Inventory LegalZoom.com a Purchase?


In response to Bloomberg, the 2021 marketplace for preliminary public providing (IPO) is sizzling with a report excessive of round $350 billion through the first half of 2021.

is within the midst of a flurry of latest IPOs legalzoom.com (LZ -3.87%,, This authorized companies platform went public on June 30 with an IPO pricing of $28.00 per share. By the top of its first buying and selling day, the inventory had jumped 35%.

LegalZoom was based 20 years in the past and tried to go public earlier than withdrawing its providing in 2012. Now that it’s publicly traded, is the corporate worthy of funding? Let’s dig into the enterprise to seek out out.

Two businessmen sitting in an office reviewing information on a tablet.

Picture Supply: Getty Pictures.

enterprise mannequin

LegalZoom is targeted on making the Byzantine US authorized system accessible to on a regular basis folks. Its on-line platform presents reasonably priced self-service choices, and might join shoppers to the corporate’s community of attorneys if extra assist is required.

Whereas LegalZoom’s providing is obtainable to particular person customers, its buyer base is primarily small companies with as much as 50 workers. These clients are LegalZoom’s key revenue-driving section, for good motive. Small companies usually cannot afford in-house attorneys, however they nonetheless should meet numerous authorized and regulatory necessities.

The corporate helps small companies begin up (referred to as enterprise formations) and with ongoing authorized wants. Its clients will pay a flat payment for one-time companies, referred to as transactions, or join a month-to-month subscription for recurring advantages comparable to entry to legal professionals. The corporate additionally collects charges for sending results in numerous third events – for instance, bookkeeping companies. The Firm refers to those third events as Companions.

LegalZoom’s income breaks down as follows:

kind . income by 2020 2019 YOY change
transactions $212.1 million $168.3 million 26.0%
Membership $229.8 million $206.4 million 11.3%
companion payment $28.7 million $33.6 million (14.7%)

Knowledge Supply: LegalZoom. YOY = 12 months to 12 months.

Subscriptions account for about half of the corporate’s 2020 income, a optimistic growth as a result of they provide a predictable recurring income stream and supply the next gross margin than LegalZoom’s transaction companies. Within the first quarter of this yr, greater than 60% of small-business clients bought a one-year subscription.

Accomplice income declined final yr as the corporate determined to cease some companion preparations that didn’t align with its methods.

latest success

The significance of its small-business clients signifies that the variety of enterprise buildings LegalZoom has is a key metric. The corporate had 378,000 enterprise formation orders final yr, up from 292,000 in 2019. Enterprise formation accounted for over 40% of final yr’s transaction quantity.

LegalZoom’s development technique is easy. It does advertising and marketing to small companies searching for to amass new clients and keep their business-building numbers. From there, it encourages these new clients to undertake a subscription plan or pay for different companies, comparable to tax advisory (launched final yr). The corporate intends to increase its companies into a number of areas essential to small companies, comparable to payroll, accounting, and even internet hosting via partnerships.

Up to now the technique is working. LegalZoom’s 2020 income grew 15.2%. Its first-quarter income rose 27.3% yr over yr to $134.6 million.

Free money circulation additionally elevated 43.2% to $28.5 million through the quarter, whereas gross margin elevated half a share level to 67.3%. The corporate expects gross margin to proceed to develop over time because it introduces higher automation into its on-line platform, and its share of subscription income expands.

Whereas LegalZoom has reported sturdy outcomes, its stability sheet is way from splendid. On the finish of the primary quarter, the corporate had $141.2 million in money and equivalents however $514.6 million in debt. That stated, administration intends to make use of a part of its IPO proceeds to repay this debt stability.

closing name

LegalZoom has loads to supply potential shareholders. It has been in enterprise for many years, and in that point, the corporate has constructed up an ecosystem of companions and legal professionals. It supplies companies in all US states, offering a platform that may navigate the authorized complexities of every state. And LegalZoom advantages from the rising US on-line authorized companies market. The dimensions of the trade grew from $4.3 billion in 2011 to an estimated $8.5 billion in 2020.

However even when income development is sustainable in 2021 and past, do not anticipate LegalZoom to grow to be a prime development inventory. It relies upon closely on the enterprise buildings proper now. If the corporate can proceed rising membership and companion income to cut back reliance on that section of its transactional enterprise, LegalZoom may generate extra dependable, higher-margin income. That is precisely what the administration group is attempting to do.

Small companies will all the time want high quality authorized help, and LegalZoom is positioning itself nicely to serve them. For buyers who can counter the volatility that accompanies latest IPOs with a wealthy valuation (buying and selling at round 16 instances 2020 income as of this writing), this IPO inventory is a purchase.



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