Zoopla share price soars as it buys uSwitch in £160m deal

Lynsey Barber
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Zoopla expands with uSwitch buy (Source: Getty)

Property website Zoopla has snapped up price comparison website uSwitch in a £160m deal sending shares surging.

The group, which also owns Prime Location, is aiming to become a one-stop shop for property buyers and those moving house.

"The acquisition of uSwitch is a significant step in Zoopla's mission to be the most useful resource for consumers and the most effective marketing partner for professionals across the property space. The transaction brings together two of the UK's best-known digital consumer brands and fastest-growing technology businesses of the past few years," the company said in a statement.

Shares in the group rocketed more than 16 per cent in early trading.

The deal comes amid increasing competition in the property website world. OnTheMarket was launched by established estate agents such as Savills and Knight Frank at the start of the year in a bid to usurp established property portals such as Zoopla.

The two businesses will continue to operate separately and uSwitch's management team, including boss Steve Weller will remain in place.

Zoopla expects the deal to boost earnings in the year following the completion of the deal, expected in June.

On top of the £160m, the deal also includes a performance-based earn-out of up to £30m. Zoopla will fund the deal through existing cash and a £150m five-year credit facility.

"This is a transformational acquisition and a meaningful step towards delivering our long-term strategy to be the market-leading resource for consumers and most effective lead generation engine for professionals in the property space," said Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman.

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