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Admiral and Mapfre to sell comparison sites to RVU for £508mn

Admiral and Mapfre have agreed to sell a group of jointly owned assets including comparison site Confused.com to ZPG’s comparison business RVU for £508mn ($687mn).  

As part of the deal, RVU will buy Penguin Portals Group, which includes comparison sites Confused.com, Rastreator.com and LeLynx.fr, as well as Admiral Technologies.  

RVU already owns consumer finance sites Uswitch, Money, Bankrate and Save On Energy. Its parent company ZPG is backed by US-based Red Ventures and Silver Lake, as well as Singapore’s GIC and Canada’s PSP Investments. 

Admiral will sell its 50% share of Preminen Price Comparison Holdings, while Mapfre will sell its 25% holding in Rastreator, which it bought in 2009, and 50% stake in Preminen.  

The total transaction value including that payable to Mapfre is £508mn, plus a further amount that will accrue until the transaction completes, which is expected in H1 2021. Admiral is to receive around £450mn and said it will return most of the net proceeds to shareholders in light of its strong solvency and liquidity position.  Admiral shares were up 2.9% at 3,000.7 pence in morning trading in London. 

Admiral CEO David Stevens 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. 

“Comparison will continue to be Admiral’s most important distribution channel in Europe and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Confused.com, Rastreator and LeLynx as they continue to grow and strengthen the customer offering.” 

RVU CEO Tariq Syed said: “Penguin Portals offers an exciting opportunity for us to expand our consumer brand portfolio and geographic reach.  

“With its focus on insurance, Confused.com perfectly complements Uswitch’s existing 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 and KPMG. 

News of the agreement comes after Admiral, a large reinsurance buyer, confirmed Milena Mondini de Focatiis as CEO to replace co-founder Stevens on his retirement on Thursday. 

 

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