Yahoo buys Kelkoo for €475m

Yahoo has acquired Kelkoo to boost its e-commerce and search-related marketing services in Europe.

Yahoo has acquired Kelkoo to boost its e-commerce and search-related marketing services in Europe.

The company has agreed to buy up to 100% of Kelkoo's share capital for €475m in cash.

Kelkoo is one of the largest e-commerce services in Europe, with operations in nine countries, reaching 10% of all European internet users.

The service allows consumers to find products in some 25 categories through its search engine, then compare prices among thousands of merchants. Kelkoo operates its own network of branded sites, and powers shopping platforms for other networks as well as maintaining an affiliate distribution network.

Yahoo will use its own search technology and the commercial search capabilities which it acquired through its purchase of Overture Services to take advantage of the growth of online comparison shopping. The company said that researching products has become the second-most popular online activity in Europe after e-mail.

Kelkoo will operate as a subsidiary of Yahoo, and chief executive officer Pierre Chappaz will continue as head of the company. Yahoo said that it does not expect a reduction in Kelkoo's workforce.

Search and commerce-related services have become a priority for Yahoo, and it has invested heavily recently to strengthen itself in these markets.

In July it announced that it was buying paid search service provider Overture for $1.63bn, and the company has since invested in its own search technology, allowing it to shed services from search leader Google.

The company has also recently launched a paid inclusion search programme, which, it said will increase the size and relevancy of its index.

By acquiring Kelkoo Yahoo hopes to tap into the European market further while strengthening its position as a global brand.

Kelkoo was founded in France in 1999 and has since merged with companies in Spain, the UK, Norway and France. The property now claims more than 32 million unique users monthly and has been profitable since the fourth quarter of 2002.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for IDG News Service

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