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Admiral Steers Clear of Confusion ; INSURANCE

May 25, 2007

Motor insurance group Admiral confirmed yesterday it was considering the sale of price comparison website

Admiral is reviewing its options regarding the venture, including a sale, after it received a number of approaches from parties interested in buying the business.

Analysts predict could be worth around pounds 600 million, but it is believed that Admiral's bankers at Merrill Lynch are looking for around pounds 700 million., which is based in Cardiff, launched as a car insurance comparison service in January 2003 and has now branched out into home insurance, loans, credit cards and utility prices.

It helped customers find 1.3 million policies and provided nine million quotations in 2006. It is expected to achieve earnings of around pounds 30 million this year.

A number of parties are believed to be involved in the negotiations, with reports citing US-businessman Barry Diller's InterActiveCorporation as one potential buyer.

InterActiveCorporation owns ticketmaster and, while Mr Diller is also chairman of internet travel firm

The move comes at a time when internet companies have returned to the forefront of takeover interest. Recent deals have included the sale of Friends Reunited to ITV, while price comparison website Simplyswitch was recently snapped up by the owner of the Daily Mail - DMGT - and Uswitch was bought out by US media firm EW Scripps.

Earlier this month personal finance and comparison site was also reported to be looking at its options regarding a possible stock market flotation or sale worth up to pounds 1 billion.

Admiral was set up in 1993 and now employs more than 2,000 people at its offices in Swansea and Cardiff.

(c) 2007 Birmingham Post; Birmingham (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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