Local search firm Incubeta in R100m buyout of online media player Interface

Incubeta Holdings, a holding company for global search specialists Clicks2Customers has purchased Interface Holdings, a South African online media company in a deal worth R100-million. The company believes the acquisition will give it a foothold in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector.

According to Incubeta Holdings, the move is part of the company’s bid to increase its global footprint. This global footprint, it says, includes “clients and offices in the USA,
UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Brazil”.

Interface Holdings (also known as “iFace”) bills itself as an “integrated online media company”, which houses a number of “well known digital brands including Webmail and EasyInfo“. The internet company claims to have a 20% share of South Africa’s online adspend.

According to Jonathan Gluckman, CEO of Incubeta Holdings: “The acquisition allows us to roll out our new SME offering which has been in the R&D phase for three years. iFace really understands the SME space and, together, we will be in a position to deliver a full service online marketing offering to smaller companies who understand the value of digital marketing and paid search, but who don’t want to go the often costly route of working with a digital agency.”

Along with the purchase, a new division of Clicks2Customers, called Clicks2Local has been created specially to serve the SME market, particularly in emerging market regions.

“We are strong believers in Search Engine Marketing and its effectiveness in driving acquisition traffic to SMEs”, says Gluckman. “The problem is that although search is seen as a commodity, which anyone can provide, the truth is that it is hard. Structure, choice of keywords and pricing are critical to ensure that the SME is showing its ads at the right time to relevant searches. Through Clicks2Local, the SME will get the benefit of having their campaign structured in the same way that we would manage the bigger accounts.”

Incubeta Holdings says the deal will position the company “perfectly for for further global expansion”.

“The deal is a natural progression for both companies which have successfully worked together over the past two years. We see this as an opportunity to quickly expand our offering and our footprint into a lucrative and relatively untapped market,” comments Alan Lipschitz, CEO of Interface Holdings.

Clicks2Customers has traditionally serviced very large companies with high-end, campaigns. It develops its search based campaigns using software it developed itself, combined with what it calls “a quantitative approach to search”.

As part of the acquisition Interface Holdings will receive shares in Incubeta.

According to Gluckman, the acquisition is just one of many it plans to make in the near future.

“This is one of many acquisitions we plan to make in this space over the coming months. We will be looking to make both client-based and skills-based acquisitions to ensure we can quickly scale up to service the emerging markets which hold significant growth opportunity. We will be launching our Clicks2Local offering in South East Asia in November and rolling out quickly into other regions soon after that.”



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