TradeDoubler and The IMW Group chiefs defend sale

12 The chief executives of The Search Works owner The IMW Group and TradeDoubler have defended the £56m price tag placed on the former when it was acquired by the latter last week.

Nick Hynes, chief executive of The IMW Group, said: "To expand our business we'd either have to dilute our ownership to raise more capital or sell up. TradeDoubler is a highly complementary business and has a major foothold in Europe with offices in 18 countries."

IMW, which consists of online marketing company The Search Works and its sister technology provider, The Technology Works, has a turnover of £69m. The company boasts several successful software products, including the search management technology BidBuddy and, through its technology arm, a foothold in the Asian markets, particularly in Korea and Japan.

IMW has also made some headway into the US market after signing a deal with US reseller iblaster.

TradeDoubler chief executive William Cooper said: "(The deal is) certainly good value, but we made a clean and quick bid, in cash. There's also the opportunity for our staff and their staff to change and develop."

With a network of more than 118,000 website publishers, TradeDoubler's clients include local and international companies such as Dell, Apple Store, eBay and Kelkoo.

According to Cooper, there are plans to combine a suite of technology products from both companies that will be marketed separately to both client-bases.

Cooper emphasised, however, that the two companies will only act as one entity at board level and will continue to be managed separately, with no changes in managing directors or staff. The companies' customer databases will also remain separate.

"The real benefit will lie in the ability to offer clients a one-stop shop. We are both market leaders in search and affiliate and that's a compelling combination," Cooper said.

Founded in 1999, IMW, originally called Website Promotional Services (WSPS), was the brainchild of David Harrison and Simon Conroy. The company started developing automated bid management software to make running search campaigns across Google, Overture and Miva more efficient.

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