The founders of the UK price comparison website simplyswitch.com were set for a windfall today after they agreed to sell the business to the owners of the Daily Mail for £22m (€32.7m).
Karen Darby and Alistair Tillen will bank around £4m (€5.9) each from the sale of Simply Switch – with further payments due over the next three years depending on their ongoing performance as co-chief executives.
Mr Tillen said it represented “a really good deal” for the company he set up with Ms Darby in 2002 to enable customers to compare prices of energy bills, credit cards and telephone and broadband providers.
Simply Switch makes money from “introduction fees” paid by providers when customers switch services through the website.
The success of the business helped earn Ms Darby the finance award at the CBI First Women Awards in June. She was also finalist in Cosmopolitan magazine’s Woman of Tomorrow award.
The sale marks further diversification of newspaper groups into online businesses as they battle new forms of media such as the internet and a weaker advertising market.
Daily Mail & General Trust – which owns Daily Mail and Evening Standard publisher Associated Newspapers and regional press giant Northcliffe – also owns websites such as Jobsite, Find a Property and Prime Location.