UPDATE: Zoopla has today gained approval from the FCA to acquire Dot Zinc Limited, which operates the Money.co.uk website. The sale will now go through on 1st October 2017.
Also, at almost the same time the FCA approval was announced, ZPG revealed that its CEO Alex Chesterman today sold 4.25 million of his shares in the company, or approximately 1% of its issued share capital. The sale of the shares, which were sold at £3.63p each, will see Chesterman cash in just under £15.5 million.
Original story starts:
Zoopla parent company ZPG has bought financial products comparison website Money.co.uk for £80m, prompting shares in ZPG to rise briefly by 7% after the announcement yesterday.
The Cirencester-based company behind the website was set up in 2008 by CEO Chris Morling and, until now, had been one of the few independently-owned online comparison services for consumers buying financial products such as credit cards, insurance, mortgages, loans and investments.
The FCA-regulated firm offers products from some 600 providers and attracts over two million visits a month to its website and has 50 staff and ten million registered users.
The deal will see the company’s shareholders paid £20m in cash in December this year with a further £60m paid in cash or shares in 12 months time.
Like previous acquisitions, ZPG’s cost of acquisition is generous – representing ten times the EBITDA of Money.co.uk. The deal has yet to be approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will cost ZPG £2.5 to arrange and £4m a year in extra debt to finance.
Money.co.uk has a healthy bank balance and revenues including £14m in the bank and a turnover of £24.7m and profits of £8m last year.
The deal is part of the ongoing efforts by ZPG to use become a major vertically-integrated player in the UK property and financial services markets for consumers,” says Chris Morling (pictured, left.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last nine years. We have developed a strong brand and loyal following and are looking forward to the next phase of our growth. ZPG has led the way as an innovative digital consumer champion and we are looking forward to helping even more consumers make better-informed decisions as part of ZPG.”
Money.co.uk joins fellow comparison website uSwtich.co.uk within the ZPG stable, along with partnerships with online mortgage and home insurance products providers such as Trussle, Landbay, bricklane and Neos.