Money Talks: George Mountbatten and the uSwitch Sale

In 2006, there was one sale that everybody was talking about: that of price comparison website uSwitch.com to American media firm EW Scripps. Primarily owned by the Queen’s cousin, Lord George Mountbatten, the business sold for a record sum, leaving the peer to net over a £120 million profit.
The company had been founded by the enterprising aristocrat just six years earlier. Inspired by the deregulation of the energy market, he had seen the opportunity that the newly competitive sector and burgeoning internet usage could create, and seized upon it.
The idea was a simple one, yet one that delivered exceptional success to its founder. Allowing consumers to easily compare prices, and switch suppliers online to get the very best deals around, the website’s popularity grew massively under George Mountbatten’s guiding hand, especially as energy bills began to soar.

Despite the scope of such achievements, the creative fuel for uSwitch.com had come to him unexpectedly, developed out of an investment made in a field marketing company. This business was based on door to door selling to encourage people to switch their energy suppliers, but the peer soon came up with a much better solution.

 

As he explained at the time: “The wonderful thing about uSwitch.com is that we make money by saving people money.” Britons were quickly won over, with over 1.6 million people visiting the energy website each month.
Inspired by his earlier achievements, George Mountbatten and the management team at uSwitch.com expanded into other areas, including telecommunications and personal finance, creating one of the largest price comparison sites in the UK in the process.

These achievements were not George Mountbatten’s alone, but also belonged to those who had invested in his idea. Although he continued to own just under half of the business, the remainder belonged to the management, staff, and a number of other private investors, all of whom would come to benefit from the company’s sale.
This came in the guise of an offer from the US media giant EW Scripps. One of the many big media companies who were, at the time, keen to invest in internet businesses, they made clear their interest with an astonishingly lucrative offer.
It is estimated that George Mountbatten left with an additional £120 million to his name. Yet, he was not content to stop there. Seized by the enterprising spirit that spurs so many of the world’s top businessmen, he combined forces with his former right-hand men at uSwitch.com, and went on to explore further ventures.
The latest in this long line of successful enterprises is one very similar to the first; investment in Turkey’s first energy comparison site, EnCazip. Working in tandem with both of his former associates, CEO Andrew Salmon, and ex CFO Vipul Amin, they have combined their 20 years of industry experience with the skills and talent behind the fledgling enterprise, in the hopes that this alliance will reach the same heady heights as uSwitch.com once did.

 

 

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