Business

Zoopla to buy uSwitch price comparison site

zoopla billboard Image copyright Getty Images

Shares in online property website Zoopla have jumped after it agreed to buy price comparison site uSwitch.

Zoopla - the second biggest UK online property site after Rightmove - will pay up to £190m for uSwitch.

It said the combination of the two businesses would give consumers the ability to research, find and manage their homes on a single platform.

USwitch, which was founded in 2000, is majority-owned by LDC, a division of Lloyds Banking Group.

Both sites will continue to trade under their separate brands.

"With the plans we have to develop our combined services, consumers will have a single resource for all their property needs," said Alex Chesterman, the chief executive and founder of Zoopla.

Shares in Zoopla jumped 14% in morning trading, following news of the takeover.

The company suffered a loss in the number of advertisers last year, and is now being challenged by On the Market - a rival property website set up by estate agents including Frank Knight and Savills.

Bills

In 2014, uSwitch made profits of £11.7m, and said it had 50 million individual site visits.

It was among the price comparison sites criticised by MPs for not showing all the energy tariffs available to consumers.

Nevertheless it claims to have helped householders save £112m over the past year.

Steve Weller, the chief executive of uSwitch, said the takeover would be good for consumers.

"I am confident that we will be able to help even more people save money on their household bills," he said.

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