Digital media company ValueFirst has announced its acquisition of Way2online - a Hyderabad-based internet technology company which owns and operates Way2sms.com and 160by2.com - in an all cash deal.
ValueFirst's primarily focus has been on the enterprise market, but it has focused on the consumer side of business in the last two years. It has in its fold SMS advertising network SpotOn Media, SMS content publishing venture SmsMeOn, and content alerts Alertrix.
The Way2Online buy is a media acquisition, and will form a key part of ValueFirst’s consumer play. For instance, 160by2.com, as the name suggests, offers free SMS of 80 characters, with the other 80 being an advertisement.
Between Way2SMS.com and 160by2.com, there are 37 million profiled (mobile validated) registered users. Over 30,000 new registrations happen everyday on these two platforms, and the ValueFirst says they account for 500 million page views serving over three billion ad impressions per month. Way2Online claims to be the largest peer-to-peer (p2p) messaging platform in the world, with users across 130 countries - with 20 million p2p messages sent everyday. With a database of over 500 million mobile contacts, it is targeting Rs 60 crore in revenue in the year ending March 2013.
Commenting on the acquisition, Vishwadeep Bajaj, managing director and group chairman, ValueFirst Group, said, “In the context of explosive growth in the digital advertising in the country which embraces both mobile and internet channels, the acquisition of Way2Sms is our inorganic route to grow the internet inventory. We have been traditionally very strong on the mobile media and this acquisition now leapfrogs ValueFirst as a lone provider of multi-modal digital interaction capability across mobile and Internet on a scale, which no other digital media company enjoys in the country. This asset and brand can leverage not only the technical capabilities of ValueFirst but also benefit from its large sales infrastructure. In my opinion the true synergy of the two organisations is the aggregated subscriber base which now becomes available to the leading brands and agencies of India for running digital campaigns with true reach.”
Raju Vanapala, chief executive officer, Way2Sms Group, said, “We have partnered with ValueFirst on a range of initiatives over the past years. Our relationship over a period of time has grown and I am very happy to know that Way2sms.com will continue to grow under ValueFirst. The team at ValueFirst has a deep understanding of both the Internet and mobile mediums and I am personally proud that with this strategic sale I have been instrumental in creating the largest digital media company in the country.”
In 2010, ValueFirst invested in online social network IndyaRocks, and acquired SMS Social Network Tagg.in for an undisclosed amount.