Website builder Moonfruit has been acquired by Yell.
We don’t normally make a song and dance about acquisitions, but Moonfruit, the easy-to-use website builder, today announced that the company has been acquired by Yell for $26 million in cash, and since its co-founder and Kernel 50 member Wendy Tan White is such a ubiquitous presence in the European technology scene, the news is likely to travel widely.
Speaking to The Kernel this morning, White said: “All the partnership conversations we had in the US became acquisition conversations. We had several players on the table but Yell’s offer was the best: all cash, a clean exit for our investors and they’ve incentivised us to stay and help them turn a very cash generative, global directory and print business into a global digital services player.”
She explained: “We’ve been growing fast the last two years and with the launch of the ShopBuilder, providing light commerce for mobile and Facebook in HTML5 with HTML5-rendered sites on the way has made us increasingly attractive to acquirers and customers.”
Last year, Yell Group boasted 1.3 million enterprise customers and £2 billion in revenue. The company has experienced some growth pains recently, but a newly installed chief executive and some structural changes put it in a strong position for responsiveness to changing market needs.
White, and her husband and co-founder Joe, will take up vice presidential roles in Yell’s global product management teams, but doesn’t mean they are turning their backs on the continent they have championed. “We were also swayed by the fact [Yell is] British headquartered but 50 per cent of their customers are in the US.
“I felt like we weren’t selling out to the US but we will get the US and global distribution we were looking for. We support the entrepreneurial tech ecosystem in the UK and US.”
The Yell acquisition is the end of a long road for the Whites, whose business, which is now some 13 years old, has seen ups and downs in its comparatively long history. And the deal is felicitous at a time when strong competitors such as Jimdo are gaining traction elsewhere in the world.