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HomeServe has bought majority stakes in two large home repair and improvement review sites.

The emergency repairs business announced on Friday it has bought a 40 per cent stake in Checkatrade, a UK online review site, with an option to increase this to 75 per cent after two years. It has also invested in 70 per cent of Habitissimo, a Spanish review site, with an option to take full ownership after four years.

HomeServe said the acquisitions, for which it paid £37m in cash, would boost its digital presence and expand its business beyond dealing with home emergencies.

Last year over 6m people used Checkatrade to find electricians or plumbers. Habitissimo, which is based in Mallorca, provides a similar service for customers in Europe and Latin America. Its website receives over 3.6m visitors a month.

HomeServe chief executive Richard Harpin said:

Our investments in Checkatrade and Habitissimo underline HomeServe’s ambition to be at the forefront of the technological revolution as the world’s most trusted provider of home repairs and improvements. Both of these businesses provide innovative digital platforms, connecting customers to reliable tradespeople.

With leading positions in the home repair and improvements market, these businesses will broaden HomeServe’s reach enabling us to meet the needs of younger, non-insurance minded customers who are looking to find immediate help from a wide range of home trades. Together, these investments open up exciting new possibilities to help our customers in their homes as we continue to develop our online capabilities and digital platform solutions.”

The company added it is trading in line with management’s expectations and will “deliver good growth” for the year to March.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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