TA Associates buys €60 million stake in European email marketing leader eCircle

Private equite firm TA Associates announced this morning that it has signed a definitive agreement for a majority investment of over €60 million in eCircle, a decade-old email marketing service provider headquartered in Munich, Germany.

Founded in 1999, eCircle specializes in a range of digital marketing solutions, but it’s mostly known for its high-end email marketing software and related services. The company says more than 550 enterprise clients, including Argos, Nintendo and Samsung, are currently using its eC-messenger Web-based email marketing software, and the company has a transmission volume of over 5 billion emails per quarter.

eCircle has over 200 employees, spread across offices in Germany, the UK, France and Italy. TA Associates will also buy the shares of the other non-management shareholders Cipio Partners and Steadfast Capital. Wellington Partners also invested in eCircle in September 1999.

The press release paints a picture of eCircle wanting to expand into other digital marketing territories. Says Jonathan Meeks, a MD at TA Associates who will join eCircle’s Board of Directors:

“The company has become the cross-border leader in a fragmented European market, with a blue-chip client base across the Continent. This unique position makes eCircle the ideal platform for a future truly integrated online marketing service company. We are excited to help eCircle extend its leading position and capitalize on the growth opportunities in the online marketing space.”

TA Associates has been an active investor in the European markets with investments like AVG Technologies, eDreams, Fotolia (our coverage), Jupiter Investment Management Group, SmartStream Technologies and Sophos.