French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault is continuing his crusade across the European ecommerce market by taking a stake in the country’s leading Internet portal.
Arnault will acquire up to 70 per cent of Objectif Net, which owns French portal Nomade. The purchase is being made through Libertysurf, the free ISP Arnault owns with retail giant Kingfisher.
Libertysurf is gearing up for launch across other European countries, including the UK and the alliance will help create what the companies call a “service centre” for European surfers centred around the ISP.
Libertysurf will benefit from Nomade’s expertise in the area of portal technology and research on the Internet, while Nomade will gain access to Libertysurf’s large subscriber base as well as the financial backing from Arnault.
Strong financial support is expected to become more important for portals with analysts predicting the death of many European players due to the increased costs of having compete to capture the relatively small number of online users in Europe. see Newswire 8 July
In that report, Forrester Research said Nomade would be one of the “also rans” in the portal race, but this alliance could give it the resources to compete with major players such as Yahoo.
Arnault announced earlier in the month his vision of Europe as the great untapped market for ecommerce. He launched [email protected], a €5 million company dedicated to investing in European ecommerce companies and setting up divisions of US ventures into the region. The stake in Nomade will be held by [email protected]
The move is also likely to heighten the competition between Arnault and arch rival entrepreneur Francois Pinault, who also recently announced plans to take his investments into the online world. see Newswire 9 June
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