Admiral has agreed the sale of its price comparison businesses, including Confused.com, in a £508m deal to owners of rival Uswitch. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.
London-based RVU, which as well as Uswitch owns Money.co.uk, said it is broadening its comparison portfolio by agreeing to acquire Penguin Portals from Admiral Group.
Penguin Portals is a global network of insurance-focused comparison platforms that as well as Confused.com in the UK also operates Rastreator.com and LeLynx.fr, market leaders in car insurance comparison in Spain and France respectively.
The network of over 600 employees also includes a start-up in Mexico and a development centre in India.
Completion of the transaction is subject to customary regulatory and competition authority approvals and is expected to close in the first half of 2021.
FTSE 100 and Cardiff headquartered Admiral expects to return a majority of the net proceeds to shareholders, though will retain a portion to support investment in new business development over the coming years. Further details will be provided after completion.
The proceeds to Admiral, net of minority interests and transaction costs, will be around £450m.
Confused.com, which created the world's first price comparison site, employs more than 250 in Cardiff.
The deal with RVU also includes Admiral's technology operation Admiral Technologies and its 50% share in Preminen Price Comparison Holdings.
It is the second acquisition of a Welsh-based price comparison firm in recent months. In November Newport-based Gocompare was acquired by one of the UK’s leading magazine firms, Future, in a near £600m deal.
David Stevens, chief executive of Admiral Group, said:
“The purchase of the UK and European comparison businesses by RVU offers a positive outcome for our customers and our employees, and also provides good value for our shareholders.
“The combination of Penguin’s strengths, notably in insurance comparison across much of Europe, with RVU’s strengths beyond insurance and experience in growth through acquisition, provides a solid foundation for the combined businesses to grow and prosper.
“Admiral will continue to focus on what Admiral has consistently done well, namely designing and underwriting good value mass-market financial service product
Tariq Syed, chief executive of RVU, said: “Penguin Portals offers an exciting opportunity for us to expand our comparison brand portfolio and geographic reach.
"With a shared mission to empower consumers to make more confident decisions, I’m incredibly excited to see the opportunities that we can create together. Culturally we are also very aligned - we believe in winning in the right way and keeping consumers at the heart of everything we do.
“With its strong brand heritage and focus on insurance, Confused.com perfectly complements Uswitch’s expertise in the home services category. And, with equally established offerings in other countries, we have an opportunity to help even more consumers find the right deals for their needs."
Admiral was advised by Houlihan Lokey, Clifford Chance LLP and KPMG in connection with the transaction.