Motor insurer esure is to spin off its Go Compare price comparison site and line it up for a stock market listing worth potentially more than £470 million.
The firm, which owns brands including Sheilas’ Wheels, said the demerger would help both businesses reach their “full potential”.
The move comes after the group last year bought the remaining 50 per cent of Go Compare it did not already own from its founders for £95m.
Esure said earlier this year it would look at a demerger of Go Compare as part of a review and recently hired former Lastminute.com boss Matthew Crummack as the division’s chief executive.
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Go Compare – whose TV adverts feature the mustachioed opera singer Gio Compario – is expected to be worth about £474m when it floats on the stock market after the demerger, with analysts pencilling in a range of £393m to £550m. The spin-off is set to take place in the fourth quarter of the year.
Esure chairman Sir Peter Wood, who will also chair GoCompare.com, said: “Following the strategic review and the appointment of Matthew Crummack as chief executive of Gocompare.com, we believe that a demerger of Gocompare.com from Esure will allow both entities to thrive and reach their full potential.”
He added: “A demerger will allow the separate management teams to focus on their independent strategies.”
Newport-based Go Compare has been investing heavily in new data features and an advertising push, which saw pre-tax profits drop 9 per cent to £23.3m last year. Esure first bought a 50 per cent stake in the business in 2007.
Go Compare attracts about five million visits to its site every month and allows consumers to compare more than 40 products across the insurance market.
Eamonn Flanagan, analyst at Shore Capital, said the demerger makes “strategic sense”.