LendingTree Enters Insurance Vertical with Acquisition of QuoteWizard.com

The firm has also amended its Revolving Credit Facility and as made made inducement grants in the form of restricted stock unit awards to 145 key employees of QuoteWizard.

(Image source: LendingTree homepage.)

LendingTree, Inc. (Charlotte, N.C.) announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary, LendingTree, LLC, has completed the previously announced acquisition of QuoteWizard.com, LLC, which owns and operates an insurance comparison online marketplace. The company helps consumers navigate the insurance landscape and enables easy comparison shopping, offering personalized quotes on auto, home, renters, health, and Medicare supplement insurance.

The acquisition marks LendingTree’s first direct entry into the insurance vertical. The firm previously allied with AnswerFinancial to give LendingTree customer access Answer’s insurance comparison platform.

Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO, LendingTree.

“I’m thrilled to formally welcome QuoteWizard to the LendingTree team,” comments Doug Lebda, Founder and CEO, LendingTree.  “Expanding LendingTree’s product portfolio through the acquisition of QuoteWizard creates an incredible opportunity to drive continued growth and deliver shareholder value by further diversifying the business, leveraging the strength of the LendingTree brand, and capitalizing on the ongoing digitalization of financial services.”

LendingTree reports that the equity purchase has a possible total consideration of $370.2 million, which consists of $300 million in cash at closing and contingent payments of up to $70.2 million, subject to achieving certain growth targets over a three-year period. The upfront payment was funded with a combination of $175 million cash on hand and $125 million borrowing against the Company’s revolving credit facility.

Expansion of Revolving Credit Facility

LendingTree, Inc. amended its Revolving Credit Facility to provide $100 million of increased borrowing capacity, bringing total borrowing capacity to $350 million.  Pricing and other terms and conditions of the revolver remain unchanged.

In connection with the acquisition, LendingTree also announced that it has made inducement grants in the form of restricted stock unit awards to 145 key employees of QuoteWizard under its 2017 Inducement Grant Plan as a material inducement to entering into employment with the company.  The employees in question were granted a total of 18,106 restricted stock units.  These restricted stock units will vest, if at all, over three years from the date of closing with one-third of the total award amount vesting each year. The awards provide for accelerated vesting in the event of certain events.

LendingTree Launches Insurance Comparison Platform via Answer Financial Partnership

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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