Business

Gocompare and insurer Esure to split

Gocompare advert character Gio Compario Image copyright Esure
Image caption Gio Compario is the face of Gocompare

Insurance group Esure is to demerge its Gocompare price comparison website and list it on the London stock market.

The decision follows a strategic review conducted by the insurer, which took full control of Gocompare last year.

Sir Peter Wood, chairman of Esure, said a demerger of Gocompare.com would will allow both businesses to "thrive and reach their full potential".

Gocompare, based in Newport in Wales, is best known for the Gio Compario opera singer character in its adverts.

In June, Esure said it had "reinvigorated" the marketing strategy of Gocompare during its first year of full ownership and expected profits at the price comparison site to rise by as much as 30% this year.

Esure took full control of Gocompare in March 2015 when it bought the 50% of the business it did not already own for £95m.

Focus

Sir Peter - who will become chairman of both groups - said Esure and Gocompare were distinct businesses that both had strong brands.

"A demerger will allow the separate management teams to focus on their independent strategies, and also enhance their ability to align senior management incentives," he said.

Costs associated with the split are expected to be about £19m.

The demerger is expected to be completed before the end of the year if it wins the approval of Esure shareholders and regulators.

Shares in Esure rose 1% to 290p and are up more 14% this year, valuing the company at just over £1.2bn.

Eamonn Flanagan, analyst at Shore Capital, said the split made "strategic sense".

Gocompare was founded in November 2006 by Hayley Parsons, who had previously worked for the insurer Admiral for 14 years.

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