GoCompare.com owner buys Look After My Bills as it posts weaker profits


GoCo Group PLC (LON:GOCO), the owner of price comparison website GoCompare.com, has bought energy switching site Look After My Bills for GBP12.5mln.

The company will pay GBP6mln upfront, a deferred consideration of GBP2.5mln and a further GBP4mln through a performance-based earn-out.

Look After My Bills, which offers an automatic ongoing switching service for gas and electricity, secured a GBP120,000 investment on hit TV show Dragons Den in August last year. It marked the best deal in the history of the show.

GoCo said it expects the acquisition to lead to “significantly higher” margins and to be “transformative” to earnings by 2022.

The company said Look After My Bills will complement its existing automatic energy saving service, weflip, which was launched in 2018.

“Together, weflip and Look After My Bills, form the group’s auto-save segment which is building momentum and is in a great position to address the needs of infrequent switchers,” said GoCo chief executive Matthew Crummack.

“Our ambition is to rapidly scale customers and build our auto-save business to grow live customers by at least 25% in the next five months to 31 December 2019.”

Profits slide on marketing costs

The announcement was made alongside GoCo’s results for the first half.

Profit before tax fell 52% to GBP7.6mln in the first six months of the year on flat revenue of GBP76mln. GoCo said the weaker profit reflected costs incurred in marketing the launch of weflip, higher depreciation and amortisation costs and a loss on its investment in MortgageGym Limited.

The price comparison marketing margin edged down 0.8 percentage points to 45.6% amid tough competition.

GoCo said it plans to spend up to a further GBP4mln on marketing and up to a further GBP3mln on administration costs in the second half to achieve its customer growth target in the auto-save business.

It left its guidance for the full year unchanged.

Shares dropped 3% to 80.7p around noon.

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