Simon Nixon, the founder of Moneysupermarket.com, the online price comparison site famous for its incredibly cheesy adds, just made nearly £100 million ($150 million) by selling around half of his shares in the company.
Nixon launched the company, which allows users to compare insurance, utility prices, and other personal finance products, in 1999. He has had a controlling interest for much of that time.
As well as cashing in nearly £100 million in shares, it was also announced that Nixon will step down from Moneysupermarket’s board at the end of the year. This marks the first time since it was founded that Nixon will not have a direct say in the running of the company.
On Wednesday morning, Moneysupermarket’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown said: “In 2008, Simon stepped down as CEO, but has continued to play an active role as executive deputy chairman and more recently as non-executive deputy chairman.
“In the last two years Simon has been reducing his shareholding and increasing his involvement in other activities. As a result, we have agreed that he will step down from the Board at the end of the year. We are grateful to Simon for his contribution to the Group and to the Board.”
The sale, which is of 32 million shares, totalling £98 million ($148 million), marks the latest in a series of share offloads by Nixon, who is clearly looking to cash in on his once huge stock holding, and as Carnegie-Brown says, increase his involvement in “other activities.” Nixon also runs a holiday company called Simon Escapes, which rents out luxury holiday homes.
According to regulatory filings, Nixon sold around £200 million ($300 million) of shares in June 2013, and another £129 million ($194 million) in March last year, a combined 30% of the company’s total shares. In March 2015, he announced that he planned to sell £100 million ($150 million) of shares, before eventually selling £56 million ($84 million) of stock in May.
Nixon once controlled more than half of all shares in Moneysupermarket, but Wednesday’s sale means his holding is now around 6.9%, the company said.
Investors in Moneysupermarket are clearly worried by Nixon’s impending departure, and shares in the company have fallen nearly 7% in trading on Wednesday morning.
Nixon is not the only price comparison guru to get a huge windfall recently. In October, money saving expert and former journalist Martin Lewis made £19 million($29 million) from a massive bonus. The pay-out linked to the sale of his website MoneySavingExpert.com, to Moneysupermarket, in 2012.