There was quite a surprise announcement in the financial comparison site industry today with the news that Google has bought BeatThatQuote.com for £37.7m.
The news first broke on Money.co.uk, and there were some doubts as to the legitimacy of the information (it did cross my mind that it could be an early April fool!), but eventually a statement on the BeatThatQuote.com website confirmed the deal:
BeatThatQuote.com today was sold to Google for GBP37.7 million. We think this deal is a tremendous opportunity for our company to develop new and innovative options for personal finance in the UK.
Our team is excited about becoming a part of Google. We look forward to working with their engineers to create new tools making it easier for consumers to choose the right financial products. We think we can offer more transparency and better pricing information than existing online offerings.
We are confident that by combining BeatThatQuote.com’s expertise in UK financial products with Google’s technology, we’ll accelerate innovation in this field, benefiting consumers and the companies offering these products. We plan to keep working with our current partners and look forward to working with new ones, too.
There’s been no announcement from Google themselves yet, but there has been plenty of speculation and interest as to their intentions for this purchase and , especially in the SEO world.
Whilst the details are sparse, what do we know about BeatThatQuote and Google’s financial comparison site aspirations?
Well, Google have dipped their toes into finance before, showing some product comparisons for certain keyword searches.
They’ve also made a similar purchase in the travel industry, buying ITA, a flight information software company. That purchase caused quite a stir in the travel industry, with questions over whether the regulators would allow it to go ahead. Will there be similar questions for the BeatThatQuote.com deal?
BeatThatQuote doesn’t have as big a brand as the likes of MoneySupermarket.com or Confused.com, two of the largest comparison sites, but they have formed quite a lot of partnerships with other large brands, powering sites such as Argos Compare, Yahoo! Finance Utilities and MSN Compare – I’m sure those last 2 are over the moon that Google now owns one of their portal partners.
There are probably more questions than answers about the deal at this stage, but we’ll endeavour to keep you updated about how Google decide to move forward with their new purchase.
Update: The Guardian believes that Google intends to keep the BeatThatQuote brand and gradually build up its presence:
Although BeatThatQuote is not considered to be a market leader, Google is understood to be keen to run the business as a standalone brand at first, gradually building up its marketing and distribution power through increasing tie-ups with the search engine itself.
Google also believes that the price comparison market should be simplified – and that existing competitors are either too complex, requiring consumers to make too many clicks, or bombard customers with email marketing. However, there are no plans to expand the company internationally.
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