Last year Yahoo! had said that although Kelkoo was profitable, they were looking out for strategic options for the Paris-based comparative shopping site, including a possible sale. They finally found a buyer for the site and announced the sale on 21 November.
Jamplant Limited, a U.K.-based private equity firm will buy Kelkoo for an amount of less than Euro 100 million (£85 million). Jamplant Ltd. was incorporated only last month and is an investment vehicle for the former management team of uSwitch.
Kelkoo, which was founded in 2000, had been bought by Yahoo! in 2004 for Euro 475 million (£315 million). At that time, Terry Semel, the then CEO of Yahoo!, had said that Kelkoo would “add depth and breadth” to Yahoo!’s consumer services.
An incompetent management team at Yahoo! is of course being blamed for the difference between the purchase and selling price of Kelkoo.
A spokesperson from Yahoo! said that the move to sell off Kelkoo was aimed at aligning costs with revenues and focusing on their core business under the present economic conditions. This seems to be just the reverse of what Microsoft, who took over a price comparison site Ciao, only last August is doing.
According to reports by Moneysupermarket.com, the market is heating up in the price comparison sector as more people look to save money, which is probably the reason Kelkoo has recently launched a cash-back scheme in the U.K. where their subscribers will receive up to 25% cash back if they shop online through one of the 500 online dealers affiliated to Kelkoo.
Kelkoo is currently the third largest e-commerce company in Europe, next only to Amazon and eBay, and has operations across 10 European countries.