Google buys British price comparison site Beatthatquote.com

Google has bought Beatthatquote.com for £37.7 million

Google has bought Beatthatquote.com, a British website for comparing prices of insurance, utilities and legal services, the companies said Tuesday. Google paid £37.7 million (US$61 million), according to Beatthatquote.

Google plans to use Beatthatquote's technology to provide new ways for consumers to find the right financial products, it said.

Beatthatquote Managing Director John Paleomylites announced the acquisition on the company's website with similar words, adding: "We think we can offer more transparency and better pricing information than existing online offerings."

Beatthatquote, founded in 2006, ranks within the top 2,000 websites for traffic within the U.K., according to Web analytics company Alexa.

Price comparison services are a crowded speciality with many competitors, with the dominant ones in the U.K. including moneysupermarket.com and moneysavingexpert.com.

Beatthatquote makes its money by taking a commission from vendors to whom it refers the people who search on the site.

The site attracts proportionately more 45-54 year olds and over-65s than are found in the general population of Internet users, according to Alexa. It also attracts a disproportionately high number of those with no college education, or with a graduate-school education.

Google has continued to show interest in acquiring specialist consumer websites. Last August it bought shopping engine Like.com, and in December the company was also rumored to be in negotiations to pay $6 billion for Groupon, a site that specializes in drumming up interest in products offered at a deep discount if a set number of users commit as a group to purchasing the item. Those rumors came to nothing, but Google said soon after that it will work with small businesses to trial a prepaid offer or voucher program much in the same vein as Groupon.

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Tags internetbusiness issuesGooglee-commerceMergers / acquisitionsInternet-based applications and services

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Jeremy Kirk

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