“Thanks to the merger of Kwanko and VerticalAds, we expect 20% year-over-year growth”

Kwanko, the No. 2 subsidiary in France, together with Tradedoubler, has announced its acquisition of the German platform VerticalAds. Its founder and CEO, François Bieber, exclusively reveals to JDN the motivations for the operation.

J.D.N. Quanco is one of the leading companies in France with sales of 42 million euros in 2021, a presence in seven countries, including five in Europe, and 150,000 affiliate publishers. Why did you decide to join the vertical ad group? ?

François Bieber is the CEO and founder of Kwanko © Quanko

Francois Bieber. This merger is first and foremost the result of a meeting between entrepreneurs. VerticalAds group came to us to discuss this merger. We have strong strategic, structural and organizational complementarities. In mergers, in general, we often seek to respond to the logic of cost-killing. This is not the case: we are in a dynamic of strong synergy with the main objective of becoming the European leader in the vertical sectors that we will develop.

Before discussing your projects, can you explain to us why you are joining a group focused on fewer countries and with a smaller network than yours?

The group of vertical ads is actually concentrated in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland. So their network is smaller than that of Kwanko. On the other hand, its turnover of 80 million euros in 2021 is much larger than our revenue. This is partly explained by their strategy to specialize through verticals. They have actually gained very strong leadership in the finance and telecom sectors (including telecommunications, energy and media) and are growing strongly in retail. The group also has technology tools that interest us. I can quote you price comparisons and shopping guides which will allow us to better equip our affiliates. Finally, another important aspect is the very high rate of return: not being internationally, they have lowered operating costs.

What are Kwanko’s strengths in this process ?

We have the international base and all the necessary structures that VerticalAds needs to develop, especially in continental Europe. This is a great time saver for the group. Under our shared ambition to become a European leader, Kwanko brings its strong position into the French, Belgian and Portuguese markets.

On which sectors do you want to build this leadership?

We will initially focus on the three sectors where VerticalAds is the leader in the German-speaking market in which we continue in France. Kwanko is the leader in the energy sector in France and has a very good position in the retail business. We will maximize our synergies to allow our mutual clients to develop both locally and in Europe. We want to offer an alternative in Europe to other offerings in the affiliate market. In particular, we will differentiate ourselves from the current leader [référence à Awin (groupes Axel Springel et United Internet), ndlr.] Thanks to our distribution network and the quality of support we provide to brands and affiliates.

What will happen to other sectors Kwanko has been positioned in so far, such as automobiles, travel or real estate ?

The Kwanko brand has become an entity of the VerticalAds Group and will continue to exist as a public affiliate network. The difference is that it will continue to develop across Europe and in all of these sectors. Since the two companies are very complementary from a technological point of view, the two platforms will continue to exist.

What will be the consequences of the Kwankwo teams ?

This merger will provide interesting opportunities for all Kwanko employees. It is a growth project, and our ambition is not to save costs but to gain market share. Not only will there be layoffs, but the hiring has already been planned.

What are your growth goals?

We expect 20% annual growth over the next two years. A very important point in this process is the philosopher who will carry this growth. It is not about strong growth but about value-creating development for our brands and affiliates.

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