Yahoo has announced the sale of Kelkoo, its European comparison-shopping site, to English private equity firm Jamplant. While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Kelkoo founder and former chief executive Pierre Chappaz wrote on his blog that the subsidiary went for less than $125 million, a major dip from the $576 million Yahoo initially paid for it in 2004.
Some have suggested that this is the first post-Jerry Yang move Yahoo has made to shift its efforts. But the company has been eyeing a Kelkoo sale for a while. VentureBeat reported last October that the search giant was looking for a buyer, considering the purchase a strategic misstep. At the time of the acquisition, industry insiders had questioned why Yahoo was willing to pay so much for a site that essentially spammed its users and offered little opportunity for monetization. In fact, Yahoo has lost traction in Europe since the deal, as compared with Google.
Little is known about Jamplant, founded just six weeks ago, or its plans for Kelkoo’s assets. It’s been referred to widely as a private equity firm, but so far it appears to be a band of angel investors with no transaction history or portfolio companies as of yet.
Comparison shopping sites represent yet another area in which Microsoft and Yahoo diverge. The former just acquired its own European shopping service, Ciao, for $486 million in August. It’s uncertain whether it will fare better in the tight economy.
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