CommentCaMarche (translated into English: 'how it works'), a European leader in user-generated 'how-to' online content, with 38 million unique visitors on IT, Law-Finance and Health web destinations, has entered in exclusive negotiations for the acquisition of the Benchmark Group, the #1 independent internet media group in France, that publishes: Le Journal du Net (IT), Le Journal des Femmes (Women’s Interest), L'Internaute (Leisure & General interest) and Copains d'avant (Social Network).
The combined CommentCaMarche/Benchmark Group will reach:
Worldwide– 50+ million unique visitors/month, cover 40+ countries and 6 languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese)
In France – 20+ million unique visitors/month or a reach of more than 1 out of 2 internet users. The group becomes the first Independent Media Group entering in France’s top 5 Internet destinations, just after Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Orange.
Respectively created in 1996 and 1999, Benchmark Group and CommentCaMarche share the same DNA, a vision of a high-quality, practical, accessible and free internet content with the aim of informing, entertaining and assisting internet users on everyday life requests such as IT, Law-Finance, Health, Food-Cooking, Travel or Automotive.
The objective of this acquisition is to consolidate the Technology and Publishing know-how of both groups in order to speed up their expansion, especially on the 5 continents where they are already present.
Taking advantage of the world-class expertise of both companies in the subtle gathering of Communities of Specialists and in the high-quality web Content Production, the ambition of the CommentCaMarche-Benchmark Group is to:
• Further enhance the quality and the audience growth of the existing web destinations and services
• Create new practical products and services for online and mobile users
• Accelerate its international footprint with more languages and continents.
About the Benchmark Group
Benchmark Group is the #1 French independent online media Group, with around 15 million unique visitors/day (source: Médiamétrie/Nielsen). Over the years, Benchmark has built a strong technological editing knowledge in Digital Publishing, both on the Internet and Mobile. Main destinations and topics are:
High-Tech and IT Professional news - Le Journal du Net
Women's Media - Le Journal des Femmes
News-Culture-Hobbies-Travel - L’Internaute
Social Networks - Copains d’Avant
CommentCaMarche ranks #77 worldwide as an internet Group with more than 38 million unique visitors/month. (source: Comscore).
CommentCaMarche is a specialised 'Social Knowledge' Network based on a community of top quality moderators and contributors. It offers practical information, advice and a platform for users to ask questions/discuss with experts and contribute to the Community sharing the same interests.
CommentCaMarche originally focused on Computing and IT with French speaking commentcamarche.net and English speaking Kioskea.net. Since 2008, it successfully expanded to Law-Finance through Droit-Finances.com ("Your rights, your money at every stage of life") led by Eric ROIG and Health through Sante-Médecine.com ("Health and Well-being") led by Pierrick HORDE.
The Financial Transaction
This acquisition will be financed by:
a €27m Equity fund raised by a syndicate of Investors led by ROTHSCHILD Capital and TIME Equity.
€23m secured from a Banking pool led by BNP Paribas and ABN AMRO/OBC.
This Financing and Acquisition process was led by former 3i Plc Director of Technology (TMT), Marc OIKNINE, who recently co-founded ALPHA CAPITAL PARTNERS, an Advisory and Investment firm focused on International emerging Internet companies. The firms’ expertise spans over leading online destinations such as DailyMotion (video) or Deezer (music streaming).
The combined Commentcamarche Entity
The new 175-employee group will be managed by Benoît SILLARD (President and CEO of CommentCaMarche), Jean-François PILLOU (creator and Executive Director of CommentCaMarche) and Isabelle WEILL (Executive Director of the advertising sales house).
Benchmark Group's founders, Corinne and Christophe DELAPORTE, will act as strategic expert advisors. Benchmark Group's current executive managers will keep their positions: Laurent MOINDROT, Sales Manager ; Alain STEINMANN, Le Journal du Net ; Jérôme MORLON, L’Internaute ; Stéphanie MUNDUBELTZ, Le Journal des Femmes ; Stéphane LOIRE, Studies & Training ; Erwan GALLEN, Technical Manager ; Julien BARRAS, Developing Manager ; Philippe RICHEZ, Marketing Manager ; Martine NOBILEAU, Financial & Administrative Manager).