Group Commerce Acquires Dealised’s European Operations

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Group Commerce is headed to Europe. Two days after adding CBS to its roster of clients, the white-label e-commerce company has acquired Dealised’s UK-based European operations for an undisclosed sum, giving the company a strong launching point into the European market.

Singapore-based Dealised says its plans to focus its efforts on the Asian market. The move comes days after the company’s lead investor, the Asian wireless carrier SingTelacquired mobile advertising company Amobee in an apparent push to build out a interactive marketing business in its home markets.

“We’ve been planning on going into Europe for some time, so it was largely a matter of when, not if,” Group Commerce CEO Jonty Kelt told Street Fight in an interview. “The Dealised opportunity came along a little while ago and it was a great opportunity to expedite the process.”

In addition to a small London-based office of ten employees, Kelt said Group Commerce will take on some of Dealised’s existing clients, which includes both British and continental European publishers.

The expansion into Europe is in many ways a return to normal for Kelt, who spearheaded digital marketing play Performics’ entry into European markets before the company was acquired by DoubleClick in 2005. After the acquisition, Kelt remained in Europe to head up DoubleClick’s search and technology businesses on the continent and in Asia.

“Aside from the differences in language, currency, and tax treatments across the various countries, the business is pretty much the same,” said Kelt about porting the company’s business model to Europe. “You have consumers who have needs and wants; those consumers consume content from publications have been known and trusted for a long time; and those publishers need new revenue streams. It’s more similar than it is different.”

The European daily deal market has not yet seen the wave of consolidation that hit Asian and North America in the second half of 2011, according to statistics released by the organizers of DD Summit Europe on Wednesday. In the last six months alone, 200 new daily deals site launched across the continent, adding to the 1,500 already in existence. In the early stages of entering a market, fragmentation is likely beneficial for Group Commerce’s business model as new partners largely depend on syndicating deals sourced by pure play companies before getting their own sales efforts of the ground.

With Seattle-based Tippr announcing a round of layoffs yesterday, the white-label ecommerce space may be be starting to show signs of consolidation. Another major Group Commerce competitor — both in the US and abroad — is San-Francisco-based Nimble Commerce, which reportedly has agreements with four top UK publishers: News International, The Guardian, Trinity Mirror and Johnson Newspapers.

Steven Jacobs is an associate editor at Street Fight.