Martin Lewis, the consumer advice guru who appears regularly on ITV1 and BBC Radio, has sold his website MoneySavingExpert.com to the MoneySupermarket Group – in a deal said to be worth as much as £87m.
The site was founded by Lewis in 2003 and has acquired hundreds of thousands of followers through the application of a simple idea: that by sharing knowledge and tips about debt, shopping and financial management, citizens can help each other to save large sums of money.
Lewis has extended the concept of the site to include directly pressurising companies to stop ripping off customers – and, via his appearances on Lorraine and Shelagh Fogarty's 5 Live show among others, has spread the word about his site's philosophy to millions.
Following the deal, which has been signed by both parties but still awaits clearance from the Office of Fair Trading, Lewis will remain as editor-in-chief of the site for at least three years.
"As part of the legal sale contract, we've agreed a strong editorial code, to ensure the site continues to operate as it does now," Lewis told his users in a statement. "I will retain full control over the website."
Lewis said £9m of his windfall would go into a charity trust to benefit various good causes, with another £1m being donated immediately to Citizens Advice, "which desperately needs it for debt advice as, shamefully, its public funding has been cut".
Lewis added that he would take advantage of MoneySupermarket's logistical muscle to spend less time running the website and more time on media campaigning. Issues he is to lobby on include pay-day loan regulation and the introduction of domestic financial management to school curriculums.