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Web Analyzer Compete Sold For Up To $150M

Stacy Campbell-Kraft

Web Analyzer Compete Sold For Up To $150M

Mar 4, 2008 – Web analytics company Compete Inc., born out of the Idealab incubator just as the dot-com bubble was about to burst, has been acquired by Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC for $75 million in cash and up to $75 million more in milestone payments.

The deal provides an exit for some longstanding investors in Compete, as well two firms that invested just last year. All told, VCs put in some $43 million across four rounds.

Besides Idealab, which helped found the company in August 2000, investors have included Charles River Ventures, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, North Hill Ventures, William Blair Capital Partners and Split Rock Partners, formerly St. Paul Venture Capital.

Charles River invested in each round, starting with a $10 million first-round injection in November 2000. North Hill and St. Paul came into the picture with a $10 million second round, William Blair led a $13 million third round in 2003, and Commonwealth and St. Paul joined in last year in a $10 million round.

Compete executives deferred comment to TNS. Calls to investors were not immediately returned.

At its founding, the company’s core business was providing Internet marketing data to large companies such as automakers and cellular carriers. Last year the Boston-based company launched Compete.com, which provides free information for every site on the Internet, including site traffic history and analytics. The site also gives detailed information for search terms.

Compete’s revenue for 2007 was $14.9 million, more than 50% higher than the previous year, according to a release.

This acquisition brings together the global market information strength of TNS with Compete’s digital intelligence products and capabilities. Digital intelligence combines data on user behavior and interactions on the Internet with demographic and competitive information, to help businesses and marketers make critical, strategic and tactical business decisions.

A posting on Compete’s company blog said, “Why are we excited about becoming part of the TNS family? Because it means joining our clickstream data with TNS’ massive consumer panel operations, consumer research capabilities and ad measurement databases on a global scale. Marrying online and offline consumer data with media spending and exposure is the holy grail of marketing. All of our marketer, agency and media partners will benefit from access to new consumer, brand and media research that will revolutionize how they plan and measure their performance. It’s a big, exciting vision that neither company could do on its own.”

“We are very excited because it’s an acquisition that is an important move in the digital arena,” said Jean-Michel Portier, TNS’s global head of media. “We see [compete] as a leader in digital intelligence.”

Portier said Compete’s technology will be used to pursue data from a more international market.

Compete will continue to operate as a stand-alone company based in Boston with no planned changes in the company’s management team.


By Ty McMahan
Internet Services, London