Magazine publisher Future buys GoCo Group for £600m
Founded by insurance tycoon Sir Peter Wood, GoCo Group is best known for Go Compare, a popular comparison site specialising in motor, property and health insurance. It is perhaps more famous, however, for its outlandish advertising campaigns and their star Gio Compario, the fictional operatic tenor who has fronted the marketing efforts since 2009.
GoCo also owns voucher site MyVoucherCodes.com and LookAfterMyBills.com, an energy switching site.
Future will pay £594m for teh proposed acquisition in a combination of cash and shares. Go Compare stakeholders will net 33p in cash and 0.05 shares in Future, valuing each Go Compare share at 136p. Wood will pocket around £41m in cash as the group’s largest shareholder, as well as a 5.5% interest in Future, making him one of the publisher’s largest individual interests.
What at first seems an unconventional acquisition becomes clearer once Future's ambitions to fold GoCo's comparison business neatly into its magazine portfolio are laid bare. Using tailored comparison functionailty, it aims to guide readers on the best places to buy the products and services featured in titles such as Horse and Hound (which Future picked up in a different takeover earlier this year), Country Homes and Interiors, and What HiFi?
“We’ll be like the shop where the assistant can offer you advice on the best product, then show you where to buy it,” Future’s CEO Zilah Byng-Thorne told The Evening Standard.
In turn, Go Compare will gain an instant boost to its exposure, cutting significant costs in marketing against its main rivals Confused.com and Comparethemarket.
Strong Q3 for GoCo
In October, GoCo Group reported a 4% year-on-year revenue rise in its comparison business for Q3, contributing to a 7% increase in the segment year to date it said was driven by car insurance where growth “has been ahead of the market”. It’s home comparison segment also saw growth to offset the expected slump in travel insurance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Our product innovation and new TV advertising campaign resulted in Price Comparison delivering a record sales month for Car Insurance in September,” said CEO Matthew Crummack.
TrueMotion insurtech acquired by Cambridge Mobile Telematics
One of the world’s leading telematics insurtechs, Cambridge Mobile Telematics, was launched in 2010 and powers 65 enterprise programmes in 28 countries.
Meanwhile, TrueMotion, which launched in 2012, has enjoyed significant success as a telematics operator, raising US$10mn in its seed funding round in 2010, and then partnering with the motor insurtech Noblr in 2019.
TrueMotion has also entered the European market, collaborating with LB Forsikring to promote safe driving in Denmark.
The joining of the companies means TrueMotion’s 150-strong workforce will join Cambridge Mobile Telematic’s already established team, along with their client list, which includes Travelers, Farmers, and Progressive.
The new company will focus on increased interest in using telematics for crash reconstruction in personal lines claims and more innovation in the telematics space.
Speaking about the acquisition, William Powers, CEO, and co-founder of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, described the move as an opportunity to explore new markets, expand throughout the US and bring telematics to a much wider customer base.
"With this acquisition, we will use our world-class talent, technology, and scale to help our partners overcome the complex challenges of global road safety,” he added.
Ryan McMahon, VP of insurance and customer affairs for Cambridge Mobile Telematics, explained that expanding the company with additional talent and customers would help meet the demands of a growing telematics market. He also quoted data from a study by J.D. Power which revealed that personal auto telematics users have doubled in five years to 16% of policyholders.
McMahon told the press, “This market is rapidly expanding, and building more capabilities is more important than ever,” McMahon says. “Both companies follow similar philosophies and grew up in similar ecosystems, and now we’re bringing those cultures together.”
He continued, “Telematics is absolutely the future of commercial auto and rideshare, and it’s kind of a step up beyond the normal telematics."
McMahon added, “We will not only widen our lead in smartphone telematics, but also use our combined talent to invent new products for risk measurement, contextual telematics, and crash mitigation across emerging mobile, IoT, connected-car, video, and sensing technologies.”
Five reasons why telematics is in demand
- It reduces fuel costs and increases operational efficiency. This is a consideration for most commercial fleets given the rising costs of fuel
- The technology enables fleet managers to plan operations with greater precision by providing exact locations, timescales, and speeds of vehicles.
- It improves driving standards and monitors driver behaviour, reducing detours and ensuring responsible driving.
- It helps fleet health and maintenance by monitoring the health of operational vehicles.
- It increases corporate social responsibility in terms of care for the driver, the vehicle, the impact of driving in terms of emissions, and also the security of the vehicle itself.
Image credit: Getty