Investors Put £275m Price Tag On Go Compare
Shareholders in Go Compare, the price comparison website, today slapped a minimum £275m price-tag on the company ahead of a sale later this year that insiders believe could value it at close to twice that sum.
Documents published today by esure, the motor insurance group which is listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange, reveal the complex ownership agreement between Go Compare's main investors.
Esure's prospectus confirms Sky News' report last month that the board of Go Compare has appointed investment bankers to oversee a sale of the company, which has become one of the dominant players in the price comparison market.
"Each shareholder in Go Compare has undertaken to sell its shares pursuant to an offer made under such joint sales process if that offer meets certain terms and conditions, including that the offer is made by a bidder which is not ultimately controlled by any private equity fund or funds and that each shareholder receives consideration under the offer which is at least equal to a pro rata share of £275 million on a 'cash-free debt-free' basis (to the extent such offer is also acceptable to other shareholders in Go Compare) and is offered terms or arrangements that are no less favourable than those offered to any other shareholder," the prospectus said.
People close to Go Compare, which is being advised by a firm called Evercore Partners, said the minimum price tag was likely to fall well below where offers were anticipated for the company.
Potential buyers of the price comparison site, have already been contacted, and bids are expected from private equity firms as well as major technology companies.
Esure owns 50% of Go Compare, with the other half owned by Hayley Parsons, the company's founder, and senior colleagues
The esure flotation, which will be the largest in London so far this year and should value it at about £1.1bn, will net founder Peter Wood a cash windfall of roughly £100m.
A Go Compare spokeswoman declined to comment on its sale process.