Jitters over Google competition dent Moneysupermarket shares

PRICE comparison firm Moneysupermarket.com saw its share price plummet over 14 per cent yesterday, after potential competition from Google spooked investors.

Seeking a slice of the lucrative UK price comparison market, the search engine giant has changed its search functions, lowering Moneysupermarket’s placement in favour of Google’s comparison site.

In its half-year results, Moneysupermarket blamed this and the launch of advertising campaigns by its competitors for a 13 per cent fall in profit for its money business.

Steve Liechti, an analyst at Investec, voiced his concern at “no specific comment on this year’s numbers” although he maintained a ‘buy’ rating for the moment.

In contrast, Numis cut its full-year earnings forecast by five per cent and kept a ‘sell’ rating.

Moneysupermarket’s first-half results showed pre-tax profits rose 70 per cent to £19.8m, on revenues 10 per cent higher at £112.3m. Shares closed down 14.4 per cent at 181p.