Tuesday, 19 February 2008 10:55

Clickfind seeks to sell 39% stake in 2008; will appoint external adviser, founder says

ImageClickfind, a private Australian search engine and business directory, plans to sell 39% of the company later this year, founder Taco Fleur said. The aim is to spur the growth of the company, which started late in 2007, Fleur said, giving an initial possible ballpark valuation of between AUD 5m (USD 4.5m) and AUD 10m (USD 9m) for the stake
ImageBased on there being some 1.3m businesses in Australia and assuming that Clickfind gets just 5% of the market (around 65,000 subscribers) paying a monthly subscription of AUD 19.95 (USD 17.99), the company would have an annual revenue of around AUD 15m (USD 13.5m), Fleur explained. This could be achieved within a 12-month time frame, with the right “backing”, he said. The right investors would be marketing or IT services companies, but he said he had not identified any specific potential buyers yet.

Clickfind's competitors include DLook.com.au, a private Australian online business directory and Truelocal.com.au, a business directory owned by the listed Australian media company News Ltd, Fleur said. When asked if DLook.com.au or Truelocal.com.au could be suitable investors, Fleur said Clickfind might possibly be of interest to a company like News Ltd, but that he was not sure they would be the right bidder. Clickfind would want to keep its model intact, whereas a company like News would probably want to run the company differently, he explained.

The appeal of Clickfind, which focuses on a specific niche, namely business products and services, lies in a number of unique selling points, Fleur said. The company has a flat subscription rate, only lists genuine Australian businesses with ABN numbers, and carries no advertising. It applies strict quality controls with every listing manually evaluated. Clickfind also allows listings of products, as well as services, so it is more than just a simple directory, Fleur said.

When asked if Australian search engine and directory business Sensis, which is part of listed Australian telecommunications company Telstra, could be a suitable investor, Fleur said it would make sense for them to look at Clickfind, but he would not be able to assess their suitability as a potential investor, “without discussing it internally and knowing what else is out there”.

With regards to growth, Clickfind is also interested in selling licences in Thailand, New Zealand and other English speaking countries, Fleur said. He is currently talking to a company in Thailand about a licence sale, he said. When asked if the Thai company could also be a potentially suitable investor, Fleur said it would not be big enough. He would prefer the stake sale to an Australian player, but he did not rule out selling a stake to companies in other markets that might want to licence the technology and then buy in.

Clickfind would “without a doubt” look to appoint an external M&A adviser when it got closer to finalising a stake sale, Fleur said.   by Louise Weihart, Senior Journalist mergermarket
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