£44m windfall for GoCompare founder
The founder of GoCompare is set for a final bumper pay day after the business she set up in 2006 was sold to car insurance firm esure.
Hayley Parsons will step down as chief executive of the price comparison site as a result of esure's £95 million deal to buy the half of GoCompare it does not already own. The sale values the entrepreneur's remaining 23% stake in the business at almost £44 million.
She set up Newport-based GoCompare after leaving rival Confused.com and focused the website on the levels of cover provided by an insurance product rather than just listing them according to their price.
It is best known for its adverts featuring fictitious opera singer Gio Compario.
Ms Parsons said: " I am very proud that a company I started at my kitchen table eight years ago has achieved so much in such a short period of time.
"Today, we are a leading price comparison business in the UK and this is credit to all the wonderful, hard-working people we have in Newport."
Last year, Gocompare reported sales of £110 million and pre-tax profits of £25 million.
Ms Parsons spent 14 years with Cardiff-based insurance firm Admiral, where she was instrumental in the launch of the first motor insurance comparison site in the UK, Confused.com.
In 2012, she was awarded an OBE and has won many business awards including 'Woman in Innovation' at the Woman in Wales awards.
Esure has owned 50% of GoCompare since 2010, when it exercised an option taken out in 2007 to buy a stake in the business. As well as Ms Parsons, other selling shareholders in today's deal include Gocompare's employee benefit trust and current and former directors and staff.
Jon Morrell, who is esure's d eputy chief operating officer, w ill take over from Ms Parsons as GoCompare's chief executive.
She added that esure's commitment to keep GoCompare's headquarters in Newport was an "extremely important" part of her decision to sell the business.
The deal, which is subject to Competition and Markets Authority approval, is expected to complete in the first quarter of next year.