Milan, 19 September 2014 - Milan-based price comparison website Facile.it, Italy’s #1 destination for consumers to make informed decisions about their motor insurance, household expenses and personal finance has sold its 75% controlling stake to British investment group Oakley Capital Private Equity.
Founded in 2008, with a portfolio of gross written premia of €260m and over 580k clients Facile.it is by far the country’s largest (online and offline) motor insurance broker. Its strong insurance position is increasingly leveraged in other related verticals like ADSL, Gas & Power, Bank Accounts and, from mid-2014, also Cellular contracts. Well-known household brand with 80% (prompted) brand recognition and 20% “top of mind” (twice that of the nearest competitor), with average of 1.4m unique visitors and 2.1m visits per month.
Overall, the valuation of the portal run by a highly experienced management team led by CEO Mauro Giacobbe and managed by Angelica Pelizzari exceeds the 100 million euro. It is a bet that of Oakley on the Italian market, where the price paid is equal to 25 times EBITDA of 2013 (€4.02 million) of Facile.it, and more than three times the consolidated turnover of last year (€30.9 million). But for the fund with British background the acquisition is strategic because it already holds in its portfolio the reference participation in the main German price comparison website, Verivox. Therefore, it opens up for the Italian portal prospects for growth and international development, thanks to the capital of the new reference shareholder, who made its debut as investor in the Italian market.
And to get particular benefit from the sale are Barbara, Eleonora and Luigi Berlusconi who through Holding Italia Quattordicesima, the vehicle that holds the 21.42% of Fininvest, in 2011 invested a few million in Facile.it. At the end of 2013, the participation of 20.39% in the portal was budgeted at a value of €6.37 million. This allows the three children of former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi to cash a robust gain of nearly €14 million, as demonstration of the goodness and foresight and investment.
The challenge of Oakley, it's all in the potential of Facile.it, that at the end of first half of 2014 saw a 28% jump in overall revenues, with the EBITDA increasing by even 108%. Among other things, the company that owns the portal does not currently have any debt towards the Italian banking system, and has a net cash position of €1.6 million (as at 31 December 2013). Facile.it which employs 126 people expects to achieve over €35m of revenues and over €8m of EBITDA in 2014.
OCPE will help Facile.it expand its operations and accelerate business development.