O2 has officially confirmed its acquisition of mobile marketing proposition Weve – the mobile marketing joint venture it shared with EE and Vodafone.
The move, understood to have been hastened by the forthcoming buyout of O2 by Hutchison Whampoa, will see EE and Vodafone bow out of the partnership, with Weve to continue as an O2 subsidiary.
The mobile operator will continue to leverage its customer data to power the platform, and will have an additional 20 million opt-ins which it can provide from its 14 million O2 Wifi customers and six million Priority customers, which it will use to continue providing highly targeted mobile advertising.
Weve was first launched as a mobile marketing and wallet joint venture towards the end of last year, boasting a combined customer database of some 20 million customers, taken from the three partners, which together held an 80 per cent market share. It later dropped the wallet part of the business.
The move forms part of a “strategic re-evaluation” of Weve, according to the company, and its separation from the three partners will give it the agility needed to move forward at pace with the market.
David Plumb, O2 digital director, said Weve has been a success by focusing on mobile advertising, growing 45 per cent year on year in 2014.
“The UK mobile digital advertising market is big, growing by almost 100 per cent year on year to £850m in 2014. With O2’s heritage in digital services and as a pioneer in digital advertising, we are perfectly placed to capitalise on this potential. We are therefore pleased to announce that after a strategic re-evaluation of the joint venture, O2 is acquiring Weve.
“By bringing Weve in-house we will be making it bigger with an additional 20 million opt ins through O2 Wifi and Priority. With more data sets and richer analytics, it will be better and with only one owner to answer to, it will be faster. Through this acquisition we will be able to offer our business customers the platform to offer their customers more personal and contextually relevant offers.”
Weve made an overall loss of £25m last year, though it also generated £13m in revenues. It has run multiple highly targeted campaigns for big brands including Monarch, Tesco, ITV and Ikea.
More to follow