Nimble Commerce and Group Commerce Merge to Create Mega-Promotions Network

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Consolidation: it’s what’s happening. This morning Nimble Commerce and Group Commerce announced a merger that will create an international commerce and promotions network. Deal terms weren’t disclosed.

According to the press release the combined company will have:

[M]ore than 100 marquee publishers and media companies in 14 countries including: Cumulus Media, Digital First Media, The New York Times Company, DailyCandy, Golf Channel, Johnston Press, The Evening Standard, Thrillist, Restaurant.com, and many others.

The new entity will be called Nimble Commerce and lead by current Nimble CEO Prashant Nedungadi. Group Commerce CEO Jonty Kelt will remain involved in an advisory capacity.

Nedungadi told me that the new company will have about 40 million active consumer-subscribers, with about 60% of transaction volume in the US and the rest coming from international markets. About 14% of all sales are currently happening on mobile devices.

Nedungadi said that the reasons behind the merger did not include financial distress of one or both companies. Instead he said the companies saw their assets as complementary and felt that greater scale would benefit not only them but their publisher partners. The companies had been competitors in the past.

“We were creating pricing pressure by competing,” said Nedungadi. “We also saw a way to accelerate the development of the market by combining.”

Nedungadi asserted that “deal platform” was a now commodity business and the real value now was in the network distribution. “We want to be the plumbing behind commerce-based monetization models,” he added. Nedungadi also believes that the new Nimble Commerce will be unrivaled on a global scale.

In the US he cited Second Street and Deal Current as smaller competitors but didn’t see any other players with the kind of scale Nimble offers. Nedungadi also told me that Nimble was delivering “significantly higher” eCPMs to its publisher partners vs. conventional display ads.

We spoke at some length about the state of the industry. Nedungadi said that he sees pricing models evolving and diversifying vs. the conventional 50% or more off daily deals model. Indeed Nedungadi doesn’t want to use the term “daily deals” or “flash sales” to describe what Nimble does any longer. It’s a commerce and promotions network.

While there will always be a need for a sales or account relationship with local merchants to create offer-ads and promotions — Nimble’s publisher partners provide that — Nedungadi wants to bring more automation to offer syndication on its publisher network, so that there’s “zero curation distribution.”

In addition to its own proprietary network Nimble works with third party deal networks (e.g., Bing and Google).

While the “daily deals” market has suffered in the last 12 months, consumer interest in saving money is evergreen. Indeed, the recent Nielsen-xAd-Telmetrics mobile path to purchase study found that local ad relevance and local offers were highly desirable to mobile consumers: “Local relevancy continues to be a key mobile influencer, as users cite location, local offers and promotions as the top reasons for purchase selection.”

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