Breaking: Yahoo Finally Sells Off Kelkoo

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Yahoo has been rumored to be selling Paris-based comparative shopping site Kelkoo for some time now, and it appears that they have found a buyer. Yahoo acquired Kelkoo in 2004 for €475 million.

The company has been sold to a UK-based private equity firm called Jamplant Ltd (update: here is a profile of the fund) for something less than €100 million, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.

Ex-Kelkoo CEO Pierre Chappaz announced the news on his blog (in french), and a copy of the internal email announcing the acquisition is below.

The company has lost much of its momentum since the Yahoo acquisition in the face of significant competition.

The email is below.

Hello Everyone,

It has been since summer since I gave you update email. I have waited because there are so many things nearing launch that I thought it best to wait till they had happened to give the update. Firstly, I would like to end the speculation from the last few months about the future of Kelkoo. Both Toby and I have announced that we were exploring strategic options for the business. One of the options that Laila and I were exploring, in fact pushing for, was to find it a new home for Kelkoo. I am pleased to announce, today, that we have done just that!

The new owners of Kelkoo are a UK based private equity company called Jamplant Ltd funded by several angel investors, and in their own words: “Jamplant Limited is very excited about the price comparison space, and being able to help Kelkoo continue its rapid growth. Philip Smyth, Chairman of Jamplant, believes that with our backing, Kelkoo should be able to accelerate its growth much faster as a standalone company . We are looking forward to working with the highly experienced and established management team at Kelkoo” Laila and I are also very excited about this new phase in the history of Kelkoo, accelerating the growth strategies we have put in place over the last year, and exploring new opportunities for all of us.

So, what does it mean to our daily lives as Kelkoo employees? We will carry on with the great work already in process. This is due to the fact that many people have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure a very smooth transition out of Yahoo! Today at 3pm GMT (4pm CET), we will schedule a video all hands for Kelkoo staff. Please ask any questions that are on your minds to Sasha ( —— ) before the meeting, we will do our best to answer during the broadcast.

I also want to update you on the things we are delivering on our top 3 priorities. Out of the new organization of Kelkoo last October, the Country Managers and the Exec Team have spent time thinking about and stretching our expectations of Kelkoo. That resulted in the following mission statement (slightly altered with the help of our new marketing director, Bernard):

Ø Kelkoo will be integral to the online retail experience by completely satisfying the needs of our users, helping them to find and discover what and where to buy. In doing this, we will ultimately deliver more buyers to retailers than any other site.

To achieve this, we have all been pushing on delivering on the following priorities:

* Fix the Search
o (Convergence) which has seen the launch of Search 5 in France and Netherlands and is currently showing nearly – - – % uplift on revenue per visit
o (Comprehensiveness) we have finalized the agreement with – - -, are working with them to
* Give more noticeable value to users thru creating Kelkoo Club
o – - – launched in all countries in July
o – - – launched in some countries in September
o Cash-Back launched in beta in the UK yesterday, and will launch in FR next week
* Build the Brand
o We have kicked off our own version of project Goldmine , to study and understand our customers and their needs. We have appointed three agencies to help us with the project, which should complete by the end of February. An exciting part of this project will be to interview some employees on “what is Kelkoo”, and feed that back to the business priorities we will establish over the next 6 months.

So you can see, that we are delivering more and faster than ever in our history. Laila and I are proud of the work that has been done so far, and believe that the future of Kelkoo is really bright.

In closing, I feel that it is important to thank Yahoo! for all the investment and work that has gone into Kelkoo and our employees over the past 4 years. To list all of the people we will miss would take an age, but in particular, I would like to thank Toby and Jonathan Wolf for making the new chapter possible.

Regards,
Glen & Laila

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