Scripps acquires UK Comparison-Shopping Site uSwitch
By Ina Steiner
The E.W. Scripps Company has paid for $366 million in cash for privately held uSwitch Ltd., a UK comparison-shopping site. Last June, Scripps had acquired comparison-shopping site Shopzilla for $525 million in cash. The services compete with Shopping.com, which eBay acquired last year for $620 million.
uSwitch.com is an online service in the UK that helps consumers compare rates on gas, electricity, home phone, digital television, broadband, credit cards, and secured and unsecured personal loans. The company has developed a series of calculators that evaluate several factors including price, type of service, location and payment method, all designed to help consumers find the best deal and enable them to conveniently switch their service provider online.
For the full year 2006 uSwitch is expected to generate approximately $10 - $15 million in segment profit on revenue of $40 million to $45 million. The majority of uSwitch's revenue is derived from commissions paid by participating service providers. A commission is collected by uSwitch when a consumer's service is switched to a new provider. The company has contractual arrangements with the leading service providers in each home service category.
uSwitch also owns UpMyStreet.com, the U.K.'s leading local information Web site. UpMyStreet helps customers choose new places to live, save time and money in and around their homes, and find local shops and services.
Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer for Scripps, said, "The addition of uSwitch to our portfolio of interactive businesses, including Shopzilla, is intended to position Scripps to take full advantage of the rapid growth of online comparison shopping for both products and essential home services."
Scripps said uSwitch and Shopzilla are the foundation of a newly created interactive media division. Tim Peterman, senior vice president of interactive media for Scripps, will oversee the development of the businesses.
Scripps is a diverse media concern with interests in national lifestyle television networks, newspaper publishing, broadcast television, television retailing, interactive media and licensing and syndication. All of the company's media businesses provide content and advertising services via the Internet.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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