Finance guru Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert for £87m
Journalist who set up site for £100 in 2003 no longer has need of its services
MARTIN LEWIS, the journalist who founded website MoneySavingExpert in 2003, is unlikely to need to consult his site ever again after selling it to rival Money Supermarket for £87m.
The 40-year-old will, according to The Daily Mail, "receive £60 million upfront in cash and shares plus a further £27 million if targets are met under the deal".
The site, which cost only £100 to set up, is now "the most popular consumer finance website in the UK, with 13 million monthly users and seven million people receiving the Martin's Money Tips email," says The Daily Telegraph. It had revenues of £15.7 million last year, much of it coming from affiliate fees from finance companies who pay a small commission when customers come to them via the site.
Lewis, a former Sunday Express and News of the World columnist who also writes for the Telegraph and doles out financial advice on several TV shows, is sharing the windfall around. The site's 42 employees will all get a slice of the money and he has announced that he will donate £10m to charity.
He is giving £1 million to Citizens' Advice as a response to the "terrible funding cuts" it has suffered, and the rest will be distributed through the Charities Aid Foundation.
Lewis said it was the right time to sell as the site had become "far bigger than the man who founded it". But he insisted that the site would retain its focus and continue to provide the impartial advice that made it so popular. He said it would operate independently from Money Supermarket.
He said he would continue to run the site but hinted he could use his new-found wealth to become a campaigner. "I'm staying on as editor-in-chief for at least three years and will retain full control over the website," he said. He added that the deal meant that he could work "fewer hours than now, 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".