E.W. Scripps recently paid $366 million in net cash to acquire uSwitch.com, a U.K.-based online price comparison site for home services and personal finance. The deal follows Scripps’ buyout of a similar site, Shopzilla, in June of 2005. Scripps plans to position uSwitch and Shopzilla as the foundation for a new interactive media division of their company.
“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,” said Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer for Scripps.
uSwitch.com allows users to calculate which energy provider is cheapest and change their existing service provider. Scripps has taken over their site at a time when British consumers are dealing with a 22% hike in gas and electricity prices from the country’s leading provider, the British Gas division of Centrica. In 2006, uSwitch is expected to generate $10 million to $15 million in segment profit on revenue of $40 million to $45 million.
uSwitch also operates UpMyStreet.com, a site which helps users find new places to live as well as shops and services around their new neighborhood.