|Traded as||LSE: MONY|
|Robin Freestone (Chairman of the board)|
Mark Lewis CEO
|Revenue||£355.6 million (2018)|
|£108.0 million (2018)|
|£86.6 million (2018)|
Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC (LSE: MONY) is a British price comparison website-based business specialising in financial services. The website enables consumers to compare prices on a range of products, including energy car insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, mortgages, credit cards and loans. The company also purchased MoneySavingExpert.com for £80 million from Martin Lewis in 2012, becoming a subsidiary of Moneysupermarket. He remains a shareholder in the parent company, selling a small percentage of shares in 2015.
Simon Nixon founded two businesses in the mortgage market in the late 1980s, which eventually became Moneysupermarket. This began when he established a mortgage subscription business in 1987. Nixon was a student at the University of Nottingham studying accounting, while also working a job selling mortgages. While working in the role, he noticed after a number of months there was no easy way for brokers to compare all the mortgage deals available. He worked evenings and weekends setting up best-buy tables so he could send out information to those who required it. He began it as a free service, before charging subscriptions at £11 a fortnight. After two years in business, Nixon was earning £10,000 a month from his subscription business, offering mortgage advice via post.
In 1989, he persuaded Duncan Cameron to quit his IT degree course at Liverpool University and assist him with expanding the business. Together they formed Mortgage 2000 just as computers and the Internet were becoming regular fixtures in offices across the UK. Mortgage 2000 was aimed at accounting firms and financial advisors who had access to the Internet. Instead of simply offering a fortnightly update via post, subscribers could log on and check deals real-time via Mortgage 2000. The stats were updated daily, rather than fortnightly.
This expansion was hugely successful in the financial sector in the UK. In the late 1990s, the Internet expanded from an office-based service into people's homes. Nixon spoke to The Telegraph about spotting an opportunity when Freeserve began to offer free access to the Internet for homeowners in 1999 and saw a rapid expansion in Moneysupermarket from that point forward. Initially the website focused on a number of small comparison and sourcing markets for personal loans and credit cards. Instead of providing Independent Financial Advisors with the information, Moneysupermarket.com was marketed as a business to consumer business to compliment their Mortgage 2000 offering. Nixon and Duncan made commissions varying from 30p to £30 for different deals their users signed up for in the year days. As these figures began to add up, they shut Mortgage 2000 and began to offer mortgage comparisons on Moneysupermarket.com.
This caused strain between the co-founders as Duncan was brought on board to run the IT side of Mortgage 2000. Once the potential for Moneysupermarket was realised, Mortgage 2000 only had limited potential. The focus away from Mortgage 2000 led Duncan to stop getting involved in the business in early 2002, but remained as a silent partner in the business.
In 2000, Moneysupermarket announced their first major expansion with the launch of Travelsupermarket.com. The website ran in the same way as Moneysupermarket, but compared prices for a different market. Pricing for the travel market at the time wasn't consumer-friendly, often providing a "price from" advertisement. The initial goal of Travelsupermarket was to provide transparent pricing, describing the exact differences between the different prices provided.
Moneysupermarket was recognised in 2002 by The Sunday Times' Fast Track 100, as one of the fastest growing companies in the UK. The awards measured three financial years, between 2000 and 2002, to study the growth of the business. MoneySupermarket were judged to be the 80th fastest growing tech business in the United Kingdom during the three-year period. The company's sales grew from £5.4 million in 2000 to £13.6 million in 2002.
By 2006, the group earned pre-tax profits of £11.7 million on revenues of £105m. A year later, The Guardian announced that the website was processing 52% of all the price comparisons in the UK. In June 2007, Duncan Cameron sold his 47% stake in the business to co-founder Simon Nixon for £162 million. The Guardian noted that for household and car insurance, price comparison websites such as moneysupermarket.com rarely include all products on the market and that price comparisons are consequently incomplete.
Shortly after Simon Nixon became the main shareholder in the business, Moneysupermarket announced that the company was to be listed on the London Stock Exchange. Shortly before the floatation, the Financial Times, The Guardian and The Independent, all reported that the group had been valued at around £1 billion at the time of its initial public offering. The floatation valuation was seen at the time as one of the largest tech IPOs in the United Kingdom for a long period of time.
In 2012, Moneysupermarket announced that they had purchased MoneySavingExpert.com in a deal worth £87 million. After the acquisition was completed in September of that year, MoneySavingExpert remained as an editorially independent platform, as part of the contractually binding Editorial Code. Its founder, Martin Lewis, announced that he would remain as the chief editor of the platform.
Moneysupermarket announced in 2015 that Martin Lewis would be selling 1.6% of his shares in Moneysupermarket, reducing his overall holdings in the company to 1.5%. Moneysupermarket recruited a new chief executive in October 2016 to replace Peter Plumb, who would be leaving the group in May 2017. Mark Lewis was announced as the new chief executive and had previously served as retail director at John Lewis. He was tipped to become its managing director before joining Moneysupermarket. In an interview with The Guardian he stated he wanted to return to digital retail after working with both CollectPlus and eBay previously.
In the third quarter of 2017, Moneysupermarket announced slight dips in their money and home services operations, but overall saw an increase on the previous year’s figures. The group reported a total revenue of £90.2 million, a six percent increase when compared to the previous year’s Q3 revenue figures. The company's best performer was its insurance revenues, which grew by 11 percent compared to the previous year.
How it works
From 2003 to 2006, Moneysupermarket underwent a ninefold growth in traffic. This resulted in them deploying an enterprise management and monitoring system to track availability and increase internal understanding of the users' experience.
Sites such as Moneysupermarket collect data directly from merchants used to find quotations for any given comparison market. Retailers can also supply Moneysupermarket with products and prices by manually submitting their own lists. These would then be matched up against the original database so there aren't any duplications.
Data feed files can also be used to collect data. In this scenario, a merchant would provide Moneysupermarket with information electronically in a set format. Like other comparison shopping websites, Moneysupermarket has previously used third-party affiliate networks to receive information and aggregate data. Another method used is to crawl the web for prices. This effectively takes away the submission aspect of smaller merchants, while Moneysupermarket still provide their clients with accurate pricing. It was estimated that this method was initially used in the early days of price comparison.
In recent years, comparison shopping websites such as Moneysupermarket have been able to use their inventory data to place retailer prices on a blog or content website as an advert. In return, the owner of that website will receive a commission percentage from Moneysupermarket. While this effects the overall commission earned by Moneysupermarket from merchants, it increases traffic and is now a common method used by comparison websites to drive traffic.
Graham Donoghue served as Managing Director of Travel and Insurance at Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC and became the executive director 2008 and is credited for the initial growth of Travelsupermarket.com. Vic Darvey joined Moneysupermarket.com Group PLC as Managing Director of New Business in November 2012 before moving on to lead the travel team.
The current managing director is Nigel Pocklington, who joined the business in September 2016. However, the day-to-day running of the business is overseen by Matt Walls, who became general manager in 2018.
Like Moneysupermarket, TravelSupermarket’s television advertisements have become known for their humour and use of celebrities. Previous ads featured comedian Omid Djalili, former Labour MP John Prescott and X factor stars, Jedward.
After a brief slump in trading during 2016, revenue rose by 4% over the course of 2017. Revenue for the year finished on £23.3 million in what was deemed a “year of recovery” by the price comparison site.
MoneySavingExpert.com is a subsidiary of the Moneysupermarket group, after it was acquired from Martin Lewis in 2012 for a deal in the region of £87 million. It was founded in February 2003, after Lewis believed the UK needed a resource to provide basic financial advice. The site had grown to attract 13 million monthly users by 2012, with 7 million subscribers opting in to receive weekly emails.
In 2013, the group announced the launch of the Cheap Energy Club by Moneysupermarket subsidiary, MoneySavingExpert.com. Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert, stated in a number of interviews that he believed the energy market was broken. The service monitors the users energy tariff to ensure they are on the cheapest gas and electricity deal. The scheme requires the user to input data regarding your current energy tariffs and state the amount of saving for which you would be willing to switch providers. Tariffs that are available are then reviewed every month and you are notified when switching would trigger your target saving.
Moneysupermarket has a research arm, which frequently releases data about Britons and common trends they spot in their data. With energy consumption, the group released statistics suggesting that the UK wasted £1.6 billion on energy bills each year from leaving devices such as televisions on standby.
Other domestic trends spotted by the groups research found that a TV subscription costing UK households £357 annually could be reduced dramatically through streaming services, often to less than £100.
Then from 2011 to 2013 showed adverts such as man surfing on an inflatable crocodile, another man in a jungle with gorillas and another man going into space. In August 2013 a new advert was launched showing a man named Bill running around Croydon with an army of cats whilst a spokesman played by James Lance saying that Bill is so Moneysupermarket.
In August 2014, another new advert was launched featuring the Epic Elephunk walks around the road of Manhattan city while Graeme is riding the Elephunk the Elephant's back, the narrator claiming he is so Money Supermarket, and the chosen soundtrack being "Word Up!" by Cameo on this ad.
In January 2015, another advertising campaign was launched featuring a man named Dave (played by Michael Van Schoik), walking down a street in L.A, dressed in a shirt, suit jacket, denim hot pants and high heels. He alongside two other people, struts confidently to the song "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls, while showing off his prominent rear to stunned onlookers, including Sharon Osbourne. It was later revealed by the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK to be the most complained about advert in 2015 with 1,513 complaints. In their ruling, the ASA found that whilst it may be distasteful to some, it did not judge the ad was offensive and the complaint was not upheld.
In July 2015, another advert was launched. It shows a chubby construction worker named Colin (played by Kyle McIntire). He dances, gyrates, does a worm dance and a split in front of his co-workers and the bemused office staff at the other building. The song featured in this ad is "Just a Little" by British pop group Liberty X. At the end of the advert, he also swings on a wrecking ball (a reference to the video of Miley Cyrus' Wrecking Ball).
In April 2016, another advert was released. It showed all three of the 'epic' people having a dance off in a car park. The song featured in the advert is "Worth It" by Fifth Harmony featuring Kid Ink. The ad premiered during the first break of Britain's Got Talent. ] It was revealed in an article by The Telegraph that in 2016 three of Moneysupermarket's adverts made the top 10 list of most complained about commercials in the United Kingdom, a list produced by the Advertising Standards Authority. Despite the potential negativity, the company's new Chief Executive stated that he believed the 2,500 complaints showed their adverts had people talking about the brand.
In September 2016, an advert featuring the hashtag 'epicsquads' was released. This time featuring strutting businessman Dave, his builder rival Colin, and gangs of each of their similarly-attired friends.
In March 2017, another advert featuring Skeletor dancing to the song "Fame" by Irene Cara and also featuring He-Man was released, the advert returned yet again in October 2018. Later, in August 2017, the brand released another advert, this time featuring Skeletor and He-Man dancing to the song "Time of My Life" from the film "Dirty Dancing" with He-Man.
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Moneysupermarket.com's follow-up to last year's popular "epic strut" and "Colin" ads features a presidential bodyguard popping and locking to Duck Sauce's Big Bad Wolf.
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