Today, three years and just over a month after MoneySavingExpert.com joined the MoneySupermarket Group the announcement of the final part of the payment to buy the site was posted on the stock market, as follows:
Deferred consideration in respect of the purchase of MoneySavingExpert.com
MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC ("Company") announces the amount of the deferred consideration and employee bonuses payable three years after the acquisition of MoneySavingExpert.com ("MSE") in September 2012. As set out at the time of the acquisition, an additional final amount of up to £27m remains payable to Martin Lewis and certain MSE employees, the majority of which is based on the achievement of certain non-financial metrics and the remainder at the discretion of the Company.
The total amount of deferred consideration and employee bonuses payable is £20.6m, 76% of the maximum, which will be paid in cash. Of this amount, £19.2m is payable to Martin Lewis with the remainder due to certain MSE employees.
As announced on 30 July 2015, Martin Lewis has taken on the new role of MSE Executive Chairman since 22 September 2015. Martin Lewis commented:
"Over the last three years, MoneySavingExpert has continued to thrive and grow, cutting millions of people’s bills and fighting their corner. I am as excited as ever for the future of the site. On the back of receiving this payment, the charity, Citizens Advice, will receive another £1m. Also from my existing charity fund, both the Trussell Trust and the Personal Finance Education Group will get £500,000 to fund their important work in financial triage and education."
What is an earnout?
To de-jargon this for a moment... When a firm is bought, often, some of the purchase amount is held back, both to ensure key talent stay and to incentivise the continuing management to ensure the company continues to grow after the purchase – and it is paid at a later date if tough growth targets are hit.
Usually this is measured by profit – but in this case, due to MSE's unique editorial code it was based on non-financial measures such as main site usage and engagement.
And of course MoneySavingExpert.com continues to remain completely editorially independent and our legally binding editorial code (tweaked due to Martin's role change) ensures that our entire remit always puts 'helping the consumer first' ahead of any of its own financial considerations.
More details on the charity donationWe asked Martin to expand on the information in the stock market announcement:
"When MSE first joined the MSM group I announced a £10m charity fund with £1m immediately going to Citizens Advice – to highlight that this great charity that helps so many people is indeed a charity that needs us, and that its funding had been cut. I wanted to continue that tradition in this final payment.
"The Trussell Trust money is to continue the financial triage pilot I’ve been involved in, that so far has been a roaring success, letting people who ask for food get help with their finances there and then, in the hope of fewer return visits. The PFEG money (which operates as part of the Young Enterprise charity) is to fund the next three years of 'My Money Week' ensuring schools across the UK have access to some form of financial education."