Gocompare.com has spurned a takeover bid from the owner of Zoopla, its rival property portal, with Sir Peter Wood, the British insurance guru, calling Zoopla’s offer “highly opportunistic” and way too low.
Gocompare is best-known for its catchy advertisements featuring Wynne Evans, an opera singer. The company saw its shares jump up by 10pc after the confirmation of Zoopla Property Group (ZPG) that it had approached the business but had the said offer rejected.
In late May, ZPG offered to buy the business for 110p-a-share and gave the same offer again last week. However, Gocompare said that the offer “fundamentally undervalues” the website. Gocompare did not rule out accepting a larger offer.
Gocompare demerged from Esure, an insurance group, in 2016, with its shares increasing by over 40pc since it was established as a separate company. Sir Peter, who chairs the board of Gocompare and founder of the insurers Esure and Direct Line, said that he was happy with the transformation of the business and regarded the offer of ZPG as opportunistic.
According to rules regarding takeovers, ZPG currently has until the 12th of December to give the said deal another try or walk away. It is not clear whether the firm intends to return with a larger offer, simply informing investors on Tuesday that the board was currently “considering its position.”
Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla, who pocketed about £32m when the company floated in 2014, has already driven his company through the takeover of Money.co.uk, a property technology business, in 2017, as he pursues to make the business a ‘one-stop-shop’ for purchasing homes. It has also bought Hometrack, a data analysis firm.
Deutsche Bank, which advised Gocompare regarding its demerger in 2016, is advising the price comparison website on the discussions while Jefferies and Credit Suisse are listed as ZPG’s advisers.