Advised Forward Internet Group on the sale of uSwitch, the UK’s leading price comparison and switching provider within home services, to LDC
Aug 2013
acquired by
  • Sector: Media & Internet
  • Deal Type: Private Equity Deals; Venture Capital Exits
  • Engagement type: Sellside
  • Size: <$200m
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Arma Partners is pleased to announce that it acted as exclusive financial adviser to Forward Internet Group (“FIG”) on the sale of uSwitch.com (“uSwitch” or the “Company”) in a management buy-out backed by LDC.

uSwitch is the UK’s leading price comparison and switching provider within home services, enabling consumers to compare prices for a range of energy, communications and financial services. uSwitch was ranked the top website by Hitwise within the “Business and Finance – Utilities” category in 2012 and is recognised as a trusted brand which has helped consumers to reduce the cost of their household bills for over 13 years.

FIG, a privately held investment company that creates, acquires and invests in web and consumer businesses, acquired uSwitch in December 2009. FIG has supported the transformation of uSwitch through organic investment and the acquisition of Top10.com, a popular broadband and mobile phone comparison business. FIG remains committed to supporting the next stage of uSwitch’s development as a co-investor in the Company.

LDC is a leading UK mid-market private equity firm and part of Lloyds Banking Group.

This transaction demonstrates Arma Partners’ continued strength in digital media and Internet M&A and the firm’s ability to deliver highly successful outcomes for industry leaders.

– uSwitch is a UK-based free, impartial price comparison and switching service

– Founded in 2000, uSwitch employs 135 permanent staff and in 2012 was ranked the top website by Hitwise, the leading global online competitive intelligence service, in the ‘Business and Finance – Utilities’ category

– uSwitch had over three million unique monthly visitors in January 2013

– The revenue model based on transactions (energy) and CPC (communications)

– uSwitch is headquartered in London, UK

– LDC is a leading private equity group in the UK with a portfolio of over 60 businesses valued in excess of
£2 billion

– LDC focuses on buyouts, equity release, development and acquisition financing across the UK

– Through a regional network of nine offices and teams across the UK, LDC implements its investment strategy by acquiring or financing companies that are supported to become cash flow generative growth vehicles

– Forward Internet Group acquired uSwitch in 2009 as a platform to expand its consumer segment, and transformed the company from a mid-sized energy-focused switching service to a leading UK online price comparison and switching service across the energy, mobile, broadband and personal finance segments

– uSwitch’s impartial price comparison and switching service allows consumers to compare prices for a range of energy, communications and financial services with telephone and online support available to guide consumers through the process

– LDC will support uSwitch in accelerating its leadership in the energy and communications segments, strengthening its market-leading platform and expanding the company’s product offerings, particularly in financial services (insurance and personal finance)

– Arma Partners had forged a close relationship with Forward Internet Group over 18 months, acting as strategic advisor with a view to maximising long-term shareholder value for its uSwitch investment

– Forward Internet Group has achieved an exceptional return on its investment while the company has found full support in LDC to further expand into the rapidly growing price comparison and switching space

– Arma Partners supported the company in the exit process, including financial analysis, strategic positioning, valuation, preparation of marketing materials, interactions with strategic and private equity counterparties, and led negotiations on the transaction terms

– The transaction illustrates Arma Partners’ leadership in advising companies in the Digital Media sector, leveraging Arma Partners’ deep domain expertise, understanding of the buyer universe and first class execution capabilities