Comparison site founder sells off £160m holding

THE FOUNDER of MoneySupermarket, the price comparison website, is selling a 15 per cent stake in the company that will net him around £160m.

Simon Nixon, who founded the website in 1999, announced the sell-off yesterday. It is the first significant reduction of his 48 per cent holding since he floated the business in 2007.

Nixon, who made way for current chief executive Peter Plumb the year after the float, banked £103m when MoneySupermarket went public and has a fortune estimated at more than £700m. The company’s chairman Gerald Corbett said the share sale will “increase liquidity and help normalise the company’s shareholding structure”, although Nixon will retain significant control with a 33 per cent stake in the firm.

Nixon, 45, who is based in Jersey, changed from executive deputy chairman to non-executive deputy chairman in April, which allowed him to diversify his investments away from MoneySupermarket.

Meanwhile, the firm announced a special £70m dividend, which equates to 12.9p per share. “The special interim dividend is being used to return funds to shareholders and reflects the board’s confidence in the ability of the business to generate cash on an on-going basis,” it said.

MoneySupermarket told shareholders that revenues are currently around 10 per cent up on the previous year, as cash-strapped consumers are increasingly surveying its range of insurance, travel and shopping offers.

Shares in the company fell 10.7p, or 5.15 per cent, yesterday.