USwitch to be sold at a substantial loss

Tue, 04 Aug 2009

Price comparison service website USwitch has been placed on the market three years after US media company Scripps Networks Interactive bought it for £210m.

Allen & Co has been hired to manage the sale of the underperforming business, which could now sell for less than £50m.

Scripps may find it difficult to sell the business, which has been subject to changes in consumer trends.

While the website thrived in 2005 as energy bills increased dramatically, soon after the purchase in 2006 many consumers stopped using the service to switch suppliers. Consumers then took to the option of fixing energy bill prices in 2008, which was a further knock to USwitch.

Former PricewaterhouseCoopers financier, Andrew Salmon, and cousin to the Queen, Lord Milford Haven, set up the business in 2000, in order to take advantage of deregulated gas and electricity markets.

It has emerged that the founders could be interested in making a £15 - £20m offer for the business to merge it with price comparison website Kelkoo, which was purchased last year through their investment company, Jamplant.

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