More mergers and acquisitions continue in the digital space, with ValueFirst acquiring Way2online - a Hyderabad-based consumer focused internet technology company, which owns and operates Way2sms.com and 160by2.com, in an all-cash deal. The deal is learnt to be in the region of Rs 200 crore, although an official figure could not be ascertained.
The strategic acquisition brings to ValueFirst an additional 37 million registered profiled internet users. The company now looks to cross 50 million profiled registered users and to get Rs 250 crore as revenue this financial year, operating across multiple platforms such as internet, voice, SMS and e-mail.
He tells afaqs! that the acquisition fills ValueFirst's need gap in terms of the number of registered users, higher traffic and revenue. Moreover, ValueFirst, which was largely operating in the mobile space, will now have internet added to its portfolio.
"Operating in the digital space, we were focusing more on mobile. The clients, though, see internet and mobile as one when it comes to digital strategy. Hence, this was one of the pieces missing in our portfolio. Way2online fit the bill as an asset that was large and sound enough," says Apoorv.
Founded in 2006, Way2online is a leading personal messaging portal with users across 130 countries. Using Way2sms and 160by2, around 20 million peer-to-peer (P2P) messages are sent every day.
Post -acquisition, both Way2sms and 160by2 will continue to function as independent properties as products, although the infrastructure will obviously be consolidated.
Raju Vanapala, CEO, Way2Sms Group, says, "Over the last year, we partnered with ValueFirst on a range of initiatives. Our relationship over a period of time has grown and I am happy to know that Way2sms.com will continue to grow under ValueFirst. The team at ValueFirst has a deep understanding of both the internet and mobile media."
Apoorv further explains that with this development, ValueFirst will be better positioned to serve its clients when it comes to targeting users and creating innovative solutions because unlike users on most mobile communities that are not profiled, these are opt-in profiled validated users on the internet.
"Way2sms has grown completely virally and despite Facebook's popularity in India, Way2sms still adds 30,000 new registrations daily. More than 500 million contacts have been saved on Way2sms.com. There is massive potential to explode the traffic further by creating social sharing with saved contacts, which is practically an extension of one's phonebook," Apoorv says.
ValueFirst, launched in 2003 via internet and mobile, handles close to 8 billion digital interactions across platforms. It owns and operates multiple internet communities with over 50 million opted-in profiled and registered internet users. The company is looking at an initial public offering in the next 24 months.