LONDON – Zoopla Group is branching out further from its traditional business of house listings with the acquisition of financial comparison website Money.co.uk.
ZPG, Zoopla’s parent group, announced on Thursday that it has reached a deal to buy Money.co.uk for £80 million, with the possibility of an additional £60 million payout if the business performs in-line with projections over the coming years.
Founded in 2008, Money.co.uk lets people compare financial products like credit cards, mortgages, loans, and savings accounts. The website had revenues of £24.7 million last year and gets 2 million customers a month. The initial £80 million valuation represents 10 times Money.co.uk’s earnings of £8 million last year.
The acquisition takes Zoopla deeper into the comparison world, where it vies against the likes of MoneySupermarket.com and GoCompare. Zoopla first entered comparison in 2015 when it acquired energy comparison website uSwitch.
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of ZPG, said in a release announcing the deal: “Adding Money, one of the UK’s leading financial services comparison websites, to our existing brand portfolio will further enhance our product capabilities and consumer engagement across both our comparison and property platforms.
“Broadening our financial services offering has long been a key part of our strategy and I look forward to welcoming Chris [Morling, CEO of Money.co.uk] and his team to the ZPG family.”
Anthony Codling, an analyst with Jefferies, says in note reacting to the deal: “In our view, this is a logical addition to ZPG’s comparison services offering and one perhaps closer to the core property services business.
“On Zoopla you can find your home and through Money you can finance your home. Money has a comprehensive offering across more than 60 financial services products including mortgages, loans, credit cards, savings accounts and current accounts.”
Zoopla also told investors to revenues and profits for the year will be at the higher end of market expectations and Zoopla shares have popped over 5% at the open on Thursday:
- Markets Insider
Chesterman founded Zoopla in 2008, the same year as Money.co.uk, as a property listings portal. The entrepreneur has helped grow the group into a £1.5 billion web giant through a string of acquisitions. Most recently Zoopla bought property market data provider Hometrack for £120 million in January. The group has also made a string of early-stage investments in so called “PropTech” (property technology) startups to increase its diversification and prepare for the future.
The Money.co.uk deal will be financed using Zoopla’s existing cash pile and an extension to a credit facility.