3i Invests $23 Million in Internet Payment Service Click & Buy Aiding Expansion into the U.S. and Asia
MENLO PARK, Calif. and NEW YORK, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- 3i, the world's leading private equity and venture capital company, have announced a $23 million investment in Zurich (Switzerland) based Webpay AG, owner of market leader Click & Buy, an ePayment and storefront provider for online and mobile digital content.
Click & Buy is Europe's leading online payment system used by more than 5 million consumers on 4,000 merchant websites. The company opened a New York office in 2004. Webpay International has plans to further expand into other markets in the U.S., as well as expansion plans for Canada, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe with the support of 3i.
For the U.S. market, Click&Buy sees a major opportunity for digital commerce in the publishing, games and online music industries and will use 3i's funding to target those and other areas. Click&Buy's eCommerce software allows merchants to partially or completely outsource complex billing of content, services and physical goods and processing of local currency and credit cards to Webpay, an expert in the field. Webpay is a critical enabler of digital commerce, offering a complete digital commerce supply chain, which includes delivery, customer service, data reporting, cataloguing & merchandising, billing, payment and rights management.
In the last six months alone, Webpay has won many well-known brands as customers, including Apple iTunes and Microsoft Music, who deliver music downloads across Europe. Click&Buy will soon announce the availability of Skype and EA to consumers in the U.S. Other major clients include The Financial Times, The Discovery Channel and Disney Toontown (UK) in Europe and Kiplinger and iVillage in the United States. Furthermore, the company plans to penetrate new payment platforms, such as the mobile payments industry sector. Most recently, Click&Buy/Webpay signed a deal with SanDisk to distribute the Rolling Stone's "A Bigger Bang" for mobile and portable devices.
Fraud prevention systems play a key role in the development of the online payment market. Click & Buy has developed their own fraud prevention system, which protects both the customer and the merchant from misuse. In addition to the safety aspect, the speed and user-friendliness of the Click & Buy platform has considerably contributed to the rapid uptake of the service. Robin Murray, Partner, 3i US, said: "Given strong broadband penetration and massive uptake of killer applications like online music downloads and gaming which will further accelerate growth of online payment systems, 3i is very excited about driving global development of the Click & Buy payment solution. We believe this will take Click & Buy's leadership position in Germany and Europe to an international level." Norbert Stangl, founder and chairman of Webpay AG, which operates the Click & Buy system, said: "3i is the ideal partner for our European and worldwide expansion. In addition to a first class brand, 3i has a global network consisting of the top names in the Internet field - an advantage not to be underestimated when considering the rollout of Click & Buy."
With the 3i investment in Webpay AG the company is fully funded to execute on its expansion strategy. In the medium-term the company plans a stock exchange float.
About Webpay International AG / Click & Buy
Click & Buy, operated by Webpay AG, is a leading full service platform for online payment services. Many brand names utilize the Click & Buy service for enabling online customer transactions including Apple iTunes Europe, Skype, Electronic Arts, Habbo Hotel, Kiplinger, Astrology.com and Sandisk. To date, more than 4,000 Internet sites across Europe rely on the service for their payment transaction completion and 5 million end users have already decided to shop online through the Click & Buy system.
Click & Buy is operated by FIRSTGATE AG in Germany, British Telecom in the UK, Swisscom in Switzerland and by Webpay AG across the remaining Europe and in the US. Through a partnership with the telecommunications firm Telmex, Click & Buy will also shortly be available in Central and Latin America, which will open the service up to a market of more than 100 million consumers. For more information, go to http://www.webpay.ch
3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.
In the U.S., 3i invests in both early and late stage technology companies in the software, communications, semiconductor and healthcare sectors. 3i partners leverage over 150 years of investing and operating experience and a global network to create value for their portfolio and investment partners. With a proven track record and knowledge of venture capital investing, 3i provides hands on support and guidance in building and scaling successful businesses.
In the 6 months to 30 September 2005, 3i achieved realizations of over $1.7bn and invested $1.4bn, including co-investment funds, of which 3i's Venture Capital business invested about $100m in early stage technology companies globally across four specialist sectors: communications, software, healthcare and electronics, semiconductors and advanced technologies ("ESAT"). Its portfolio of 200 companies includes Vonage (VOIP), Udex (RFID), Microsulis (medtech), EnOcean (energy) with successful realizations through Interhyp, dtms, RedDot, Element5, Bookham, CSR, Arakis, UbiNetics and many others. For more information, go to http://www.3i.com
Source: Webpay International