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Belgium's Gimv puts 15 million euros into Onedirect

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Belgium’s Gimv – the investment firm that is behind companies like Inside Contactless, Openbravo and Telenet – has just put some 15 million euros into Onedirect, which specializes in e-commerce for B2B telephone devices and solutions. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed but with this operation, Gimv will be the primary shareholder in the France-based company. In addition, the Lyon-based investment group Siparex – which invested in Onedirect in 2007 – will no longer be a shareholder as a result.

This is the fourth France-based management buyout that Gimv has completed. The 2 co-founders, Hervé Lafont and Emmanuel Stern, will naturally continue to be shareholders in the company they founded back in 1999. The primary change in the management team will be the addition of Jean-Louis Coustenoble, the former Chief Executive of Kalamazoo Spain as well as 2 French-based Staples subsidiaries, Bernard and JPG.

The company currently covers several European markets, including Portugal, Spain, Italy and more recently Germany – as of last year. The 75 person team (40 of which are dedicated to sales) also has 2 branches in Milan and Barcelona. With roughly 350,000 unique visitors per month, the site offers over 1,800 products – including a number of professional telephone devices and equipment (conference call devices, wireless devices, bluetooth kits,…) from well-known brands, like Panasonic, Philips, Polycom, Alcatel, etc. The company brought in over 24 million euros in revenue last year.

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