moneysavingexpert.com sold to moneysupermarket.com
Martin Lewis' popular financial advisory site Money Saving Expert ( moneysavingsexpert.com ) has been acquired by Moneysupermarket.com for cash-and-shares totaling £87m.
There has been outcry from consumers where one forum called Martin Lewis a sell out while another complained: "The voice of the consumer has been bought."
Moneysupermarket has always been the largest contributor of the moneysavingsexpert website's income at 59 per cent of revenues. Money Saving Expert reported revenues of £15.7m in the year to October 2011, with earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of £12.6 million from referral fees when users click through to its site.
moneysavingsexpert.com was created by Mr Lewis in 2003 and has developed it to become a portal for over 39 million visitors just from the UK last year and email subscribers to their newsletter reaching over 5 million.
The deal will be funded from cash and a new £20m bank facility where Moneysupermarket has agreed to pay £35 million in advance in cash and £25 million in shares, with a further £27 million dependent on "non financial" performance, using metrics such as user numbers and brand awareness, as well as Mr Lewis' continued employment at the group.
Peter Plumb, Moneysupermarket's chief executive, said that bringing the advice site in house would enable the price comparison site to retain all of those revenues, while its ability to promote Money Saving Expert's content more widely will encourage more people to use online services to buy financial products.