Oversee.net acquires ShopWiki

Oversee.net has acquired ShopWiki Corp. The acquisition is the first in the consumer retail space for Oversee’s expanding Vertical Markets division, which is further developing the company’s contextual search and comparative results capabilities to create site experiences that help consumers make purchase decisions.

ShopWiki, founded in 2005 and majority-owned by growth equity firm Generation Partners, has shopping comparison websites serving 11 countries in North America, Europe and Australia.  The sites help users find places to purchase products for sale on the web by intelligently searching and organising nearly half a billion consumer offerings.Oversee establishes retail presenceOversee, which operates successful comparison sites in the travel and financial services sectors like LowFares.com and CreditCards.org, was attracted to ShopWiki because of its potential to serve as a cornerstone of Oversee’s retail presence.  “ShopWiki is the most comprehensive shopping search engine in the market,” said Oversee CEO and President Jeff Kupietzky.  “The acquisition is a perfect fit with our ability to apply our expertise in acquiring and managing Internet traffic to improve comparison and buying decisions for consumers.”

ShopWiki CEO Rory Cumming was attracted to Oversee for similar reasons.  “Oversee provides services for over 10 million domain names and has unique insight into consumer preferences and Internet traffic,” he said.  “Through contextual search, consumers who navigate through Oversee’s network of names will see relevant offers more often with ShopWiki.”Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Gridley & Company, a New York City-based boutique investment bank, provided ShopWiki Corp. with advisory services on the deal.  Portico Capital Securities LLC served as financial advisor to Oversee.net for the transaction.  Cumming will serve as Oversee’s General Manager, Retail, and will continue to run the property from New York as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oversee and as a section of Oversee’s Vertical Markets division.

Generation Partners, a $350 million private investment firm, was the company’s largest shareholder and only institutional investor.  “ShopWiki has been a great investment for our firm,” commented John Hawkins, Managing Partner at Generation Partners.  “The company’s proprietary technology proved to be a true differentiator in a competitive market and allowed ShopWiki to grow its top-line revenues at a rate several times that of the overall market.  ShopWiki is one of several successful investments Generation has made in the online advertising and media industries.  Others are Demand Media, an internet-based model for creating high quality, commercially viable content, which recently completed a public offering, and iCrossing, a leading global digital advertising agency which was recently sold to Hearst Corporation.  We continue to focus on this sector and look forward to making several additional investments in the space that capitalize on the same online advertising trends that made ShopWiki so successful.”

“The ShopWiki management team, led by CEO Rory Cumming, has done an outstanding job building the company,” said Louis Marino, Vice President at Generation.  He added, “ShopWiki is an example of Generation’s investment strategy:  we specialize in providing growth capital to exceptional entrepreneurs, focus exclusively on high-growth service businesses and generate our returns through core business growth, rather than through financial leverage.
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