City-based Way2Online Interactive India, a consumer-focused Internet technology company that runs person-to-person (P2P) messaging portal Way2SMS.com, has acquired 100 per cent of 160by2, also from here, in an all-cash deal and for an undisclosed sum.
With the acquisition, 160by2, a P2P business unit of enterprise messaging and advertisement-based free SMS services provider SMSCountry, brings to Way2Online’s fold 13 million users, taking the combined entity’s registered user base to over 33 million.
According to Google’s Zeitgeist 2011, Way2SMS is listed as one of the Top-10 search words in India, besides global brands like Facebook and Youtube, while Alexa.com, which provides information about websites including top sites, Internet traffic statistics and metrics, listed 160by2 as one among the Top-100 most visited sites in India in 2010 and 2011.
“160by2 syncs with our business model and hence we have acquired its assets, core engineering team and its technology-based intellectual property. The deal gives us the kind of scale that we are looking for to compete with traditionally large players like Rediff and Indiatimes,” Raju Vanapala, founder and chief executive officer of Way2Online, told Business Standard.
Besides broadening Way2Online’s consumer penetration to 33 million unique Internet users, the acquisition gives access to 35 per cent of the total Internet users in the country. “With this consolidation, we now command more than 95 per cent of the overall P2P SMS vertical market share,” he added.
Stating that Way2Online’s strategy was always to discover new verticals in the Internet landscape of the country, Vanapala said the company was planning to extend its reach to the niche email advertising business model that no one had tapped as yet.
“Now that we have a large unique user profiles base of 33 million, it is an opportunity to become the largest player in this vertical. We are expecting to go live (email advertising) in the second week of February,” he said.
Vanapala did not disclose the size of the transaction citing the non-disclosure agreement between the two entities. Way2Online, is expected to close the current financial year with revenues of Rs 35 crore.