London-based ZPG Comparison Services Holdings UK Ltd (RVU) is acquiring Admiral Group Plc’s wholly owned subsidiary Penguin Portals Ltd, as well as Admiral’s joint venture with MAPFRE known as Preminen Price Comparison Holdings Ltd.
Penguin Portals Ltd is the company in charge of comparison businesses Confused.com in the UK, Rastreator.com in Spain, and LeLynx.fr in France. Preminen, half of which is owned by Admiral and the other by MAPFRE, is responsible for comparison sites Rastreator.mx in Mexico, Tamoniki.com in Turkey, and GoSahi.com in India.
Combined, the two holding groups make up the ‘Penguin Portals’ branded network.
Meanwhile, also being sold is dedicated technology operation Admiral Technologies. Additionally, as part of the RVU deal which is expected to close in the first half of the year, MAPFRE is selling not only its 50% holding in Preminen but also its 25% stake in Rastreator.
“The total transaction value, including the amount attributable to MAPFRE, is £508 million plus a further amount that will accrue until the date of completion of the proposed transaction,” explained Admiral in its announcement. “The transaction value shall be satisfied in cash at completion of the proposed transaction subject to certain adjustments.
“The proceeds to Admiral, net of minority interests and transaction costs, will be around £450 million. As noted above, the final transaction value will depend on the completion date.”
According to the Cardiff-headquartered insurer, it expects to return a majority of the net proceeds to shareholders while a portion will be retained by Admiral to support investment in new business development.
Former group chief executive David Stevens – who remains at Admiral in a part-time advisory capacity after stepping down at the end of 2020 – commented: “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.”
The ex-boss, who was succeeded by Milena Mondini de Focatiis, went on to say: “Admiral will continue to focus on what Admiral has consistently done well, namely designing and underwriting good-value mass market financial service products.
“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.”
Subject to customary regulatory and competition authority approvals, the transaction does not include Admiral’s US comparison business compare.com.