HE HAS long been credited with helping other people save money, but financial pundit Martin Lewis has now secured his own multi-million pound fortune after selling the website, which he set up at the cost of £100, for a considerable mark-up of £87 million.
Mr Lewis, a finance journalist who regularly appears on TV giving advice on money matters, agreed the deal for MoneySavingExpert.com with price comparison site MoneySupermarket.
It means the man known for taking the banks to task over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI) will see his own account credited with £60m up front and a further £27m conditional on meeting targets over the next three years.
He plans to donate £10m to charity, including £1m to Citizens Advice,. He will retain full control over the website, which has more than 13 m unique users each month.
The website, which was set up nine years ago, has grown into a powerful voice for consumers.
As one of the most high-profile and trusted consumer champions, Mr Lewis has thrown his weight behind campaigns such as financial education in schools and the PPI mis-selling scandal.
Highlighting that households do not need to use claims’ management companies, which often take a quarter of any payout, a template letter which people can use to reclaim PPI themselves has been downloaded more than 2.6 million times.
Mr Lewis said the deal, which needs the approval of the shareholders of MoneySupermarket, ensured the website would be around for many years to come.
He said: “MoneySavingExpert.com has become part of people’s daily lives, far bigger than the man who founded it and now is the right time for it to stand on its own two feet.”
Mr Lewis said he chose MoneySupermarket because it is not owned by any product providers and it had signed up to an editorial code which ensures the website’s content will be free from commercial pressures.
Mr Lewis will stay as editor-in-chief for three years, with the help of MoneySupermarket’s resources and the website’s existing 42-strong staff.
“After that, the door is open for me to carry on and I hope to do so, though perhaps with fewer hours, so I can spend more time on my media work and other projects I’m passionate about. These include getting financial education on the curriculum,” he said.
Peter Plumb, MoneySupermarket’s chief executive, said: “MoneySavingExpert is rightly trusted by its users as a unique source of independent information and views in today’s complex financial world.
“We are committed to maintaining its trusted, independent reputation.”