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On the Heels of Mono Deal, Bauer Acquires Camilyo

In a move that affirms our view that consolidation of the SMB site builder space is well underway, Bauer Media Group has acquired Camilyo. This deal comes just days after we reported that Bauer had acquired Camilyo’s rival, Mono Solutions. These two deals represent a significant roll-up of the small business site builder space, and it’s by no means certain that Bauer is finished consolidating this space.

Camilyo and Mono will become part of Bauer’s recently created SME Marketing Services division. According to the deal announcement, Camilyo will retain its brand and organization under Bauer, which is the same arrangement that Mono has been given. The two companies will join an earlier acquisition, the Polish SEO/SEM firm Sunrise Systems, in the new division.

Bauer Media Group is a privately owned, Hamburg-based, media company operating in Europe, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. Bauer operates about 600 magazines, 400 digital media properties, and 100 radio and TV stations. The family-owned and operated company dates back 150 years and has more than 11,000 employees worldwide.

Clearly, Bauer has big ambitions to grow its small business customer base, which had not been a priority until it launched its SME initiative earlier this year.

The quick succession of these two acquisitions begs a few questions, which only time can definitively answer.

The first is, are there more acquisitions pending? Our view is that there likely are, given Bauer appears to have aggressive plans to grow its small business customers base and for that, it needs products, fulfillment capacity, and channel partners. Mono and Camilyo are longtime rivals that both offer website production for reseller partners. But the two businesses are not interchangeable.

Camilyo, for example, has gone to market with the idea of selling an all-in-one suite of tools for businesses to handle everything from lead generation through invoicing and payments, a strategy increasingly pursued by other competitors like vCita and Websplanet.

Mono Solutions also offers a suite of products (scheduling, CRM, etc.) but emphasizes its service heavy, do-it-with-me approach for site creation and has emphasized the data aggregation benefits of websites for SMEs.

How will these deals affect the U.S. market? Camilyo essentially vacated the U.S. market after Thryv chose a new partner for its all-in-one automation suite for small businesses. Mono was set to become the partner for YP.com until then DexMedia (now Thryv) acquired it. So it will be interesting to see if under the Bauer umbrella either of the companies acquire new deals in North America.

Other relevant players in this space include Yola, Duda, and Spotzer. Any of these might reasonably be seen as a target for Bauer’s expansive ambitions. And we should not lose sight of the acquisition of Weebly last year by Square as part of the expansion of its SME offerings.

As of now, Mono and Camilyo remain competitors who attend the same industry shows, battling for face time with potential reseller partners. It’s a crowded space that has signaled a need for consolidation for some time. We might not have seen Bauer coming but they are now firmly on the industry’s radar. This raises the obvious question of whether Mono and Camilyo will continue to compete for partners, or if Bauer will adopt a divide and conquer strategy.

Another question is whether Bauer will allow these entities to exist as silos over the long haul. For now, Bauer has pledged to allow Mono and Camilyo to operate as their existing brands, under their existing management teams. Time will tell if this remains the case.

It’s worth noting that the two acquired companies are lead by effective yet very different CEOs. In Louise Lachmann, Bauer gets a fantastic relationship builder and visionary. In Gil Ilani, Bauer gets an extraordinary operator. Our instinct is that the folks at Bauer know this and will try to find ways to leverage the talents of the two CEOs, and the great teams they’ve built, to build a much bigger business with great vision and operational excellence.

Neal Polachek contributed to this post. 

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