Canstar takes back full ownership of RateCity as Nine offloads stake

Canstar takes back full ownership of RateCity as Nine offloads stake

RateCity CEO Paul Marshall and Canstar CEO & MD Andrew Spicer.

Two financial comparison companies founded by fintech pioneers Andrew Willink and Annabelle Chaplain will soon be under one roof, albeit with separate brands, with Canstar acquiring 50 per cent of RateCity from Nine Entertainment (ASX: NEC) for an undisclosed sum.

The other half was already held by Canstar shareholders, split between the husband-and-wife entrepreneurial duo as well as Australian investors who are mostly based in the US. 

Nine's stake was the result of its predecessor Ninemsn's involvement developing RateCity as a joint venture with Canstar shareholders in 2006, setting up an online comparison and lead generation service for financial products.

Willink entered the venture after retiring from his CEO and managing director role at Canstar, which he had co-founded in 1992 and is now Australia's largest financial comparison site.

The strategic move is aimed at building scale and increasing investment in technology and data, leveraging RateCity's technology to improve customer engagement and provider integration.

"Welcoming RateCity to the Canstar Group shows our commitment to being the leading digital intermediary in personal finance," says Canstar managing director and CEO Andrew Spicer.

"Bringing together these two strong brands gives us the ability to combine our tech capabilities and build more comprehensive, more dynamic, data-rich digital platforms.

"This will improve provider integrations and provide a much better user experience, helping us to build more direct interactions with our customers and expand their engagement with the brands."

Spicer highlights his respect for RateCity, highlighting both brands have rich histories in personal finance.

"The combination of RateCity's distribution technology, Canstar's scale and product breadth and Canstar Blue's diversification into energy and telco means we're well positioned to be the place to come for all things personal finance," he says.

The Canstar and RateCity brands will continue to operate separately in the market supporting their respective customers while leveraging shared learnings across provider integrations, technology platforms, digital product and data.

RateCity CEO Paul Marshall says he is excited to join the fold of a growing technology company with big ambitions.

"This is a fantastic endorsement of the RateCity team's efforts and success to date and we're excited for the future of the business as part of a strong group, aligned with our values," Marshall says.

"We have admired the Canstar growth story and with scale in mind, we know that this partnership will give us the backing and new opportunities to strengthen RateCity's offering."

According to Nine's FY20 Annual Report, as at 30 June 2020 it was owed $148,000 by Ratecity Pty Ltd.

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