InsureandGo founders mull £100m sale

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The Independent Online

Online insurer InsureandGo has hired BDO Stoy Hayward to explore its options, including a possible £100m sale.

If the company is sold, it will net its founders - James Richardson, 32, and Perry Wilson, 41 - tens of millions of pounds. Mr Richardson owns 49 per cent of the business; Mr Wilson and an individual investor, Martin Banbury, share the remainder.

The two founders invested £400,000 when they set the business up six years ago. BDO is thought to have spent the past few weeks going through the books and preparing information packs. Possible buyers could include big insurers such as AIG - the US-based sponsor of Manchester United, which underwrites InsureandGo's policies - or a private equity firm.

The insurance industry is currently undergoing a spate of consolidation. Specialist car insurer Footman James, for example, is being auctioned off by its private equity owner, Alchemy Partners, while Duke Street Capital snapped up Cox Insurance last year for £430m.

"Raising money is one option and another is seeking some kind of alliance or joint venture partner," said BDO's corporate finance partner, Jon Breach. "[The business] has been profitable from the beginning and they want to continue that growth rate. There are also acquisition opportunities out there."

However, Mr Breach added: "Clearly [selling the company is] an option. The brief is to look at all options, so we're not ruling it out."

Industry insiders say InsureandGo could fetch up to £100m.

Mr Richardson and Mr Wilson were both working in the insurance industry when they decided to set up the business.

"I used to buy products from James and we got on well," said Mr Wilson. "We were bemoaning how no one [in the industry] wanted to use new technology, so decided to do it ourselves. Insurance is boring; we wanted to make it simple and easy to buy."