Yell acquires digital commerce tools company Moonfruit for £18M

The total cash consideration for the acquisition is approximately £18 million, funded out of Yell’s cash reserves. There will also be retention bonuses of up to £5.2 million will be paid to key Moonfruit management after two years, provided that they remain exclusively employed by Yell.

The deal complements Yell’s acquisition of multi-store ecommerce leader Znode last year. While Znode technology is providing SMEs with enterprise opportunities through its ecommerce platform, Moonfruit offers them “light” commerce, and the opportunity to enhance their presence online, on mobile and on social. This makes the eMarketplace more accessible to more merchants, so enhancing the consumer experience.

Moonfruit’s own worldwide expansion, building on its rapid growth in the UK and US, will also see a boost from the deal.

Mike Pocock, Chief Executive Officer of Yell, said: “We believe there are significant strategic, cultural and operating synergies between Yell and Moonfruit. The addition of Moonfruit’s services and team helps us provide competitive advantage to our global SME customers in connecting with consumers through digital, mobile and social.”

Moonfruit.com was launched in the UK in 2000 with a mission to make the web easily accessible for local businesses and consumers.

Moonfruit.com will remain a sub-brand, with it’s co-founders Chief Executive Officer Wendy Tan-White, Chief Operating Officer Joe White and Chief Technology Officer Eirik Pettersen taking senior roles in Yell Group.

Wendy Tan-White and Joe White will report directly to Scott Moore, who joined Yell last December in the new global role of Chief Digital Officer. Scott was previously Partner and Executive Producer at MSN, having held senior roles at Yahoo! and Microsoft businesses.

Wendy Tan-White said: “We built Moonfruit to make it easy to publish and sell on the internet, and provide stylish web, blog and shop designs as well as easy-to-use web tools for SMEs. Joining Yell and integrating with its local eMarketplace provides access to larger audiences and additional resource to accelerate what is a common vision for the future.”

Moonfruit took £1.57 million in funding in 2010 from investors Stephens(US) and Silicon Valley based angels – Dave McClure 500 Startups, Robbie Van-Adibe and Theorem.

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