UK Insurer Admiral Weighs Sale of Price Comparison Platform

By | June 15, 2020

UK car and home insurer Admiral Group Plc is considering a potential sale of its price comparison platform Penguin Portals, according to people familiar with the matter.

The FTSE 100 company is working with boutique advisory firm Houlihan Lokey Inc. as it evaluates options for the business, the people said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. A sale of Penguin Portals could fetch as much as $500 million and may draw interest from private equity firms and strategic investors, one of the people said.

No final decision has been taken and Admiral could decide against a sale. Representatives for Admiral and Houlihan Lokey declined to comment.

Penguin Portals offers online platforms to help consumers compare the cost of services such as insurance products, mortgages, energy supplies and Internet connection. It operates brands including Confused.com, GoSahi.com and Rastreator and claims to be the largest network of its kind in the world

Shares of motor insurance companies such as Admiral and Hastings Group Holdings Plc have proved relatively resilient to the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Admiral became the first UK motor insurer to refund premiums to customers amid the pandemic as people were driving less during the lockdown. Its shares have fallen just 2% this year, against a fall of 19% for the FTSE 100.

At the same time, price comparison companies like GoCo Group Plc and Moneysupermarket.com Group Plc have seen a slump in demand for products like travel and car insurance amid the lockdown. This sector has attracted interest from private equity firms and property portals in the past.

–With assistance from David Hellier.

Photograph: Photo of Confused.com comparison site. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg.

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