The founder of OVHCloud in negotiations to take over Qwant
Posted Apr 11, 2023, 3:53 PMUpdated on Apr 11, 2023, 3:59 PM After years of…
Posted Apr 11, 2023, 3:53 PMUpdated on Apr 11, 2023, 3:59 PM
After years of hardship, Qwant will be sold. The French search engine has entered into exclusive negotiations with Octave Klaba the founder of OVHcloud and majority shareholder of Shadow, to create a new platform of cloud-based services worth an estimated 150 million euros, according to our information.
Specifically, Qwant will be brought closer to Shadow, which already offers cloud offers, especially for “gamers”. The new entity, called “Synfonium”, aims to create a “European champion of cloud-based services”, according to the press release announcing the operation.
Qwant as a gateway
Concretely, it would be a question of creating a kind of virtual and dematerialized “office”. Business customers would thus have access to videoconferencing and office automation applications, all accessible via the traditional Qwant search engine. “It will be the first tool of this type in Europe, with data in Europe and processed in Europe”, explains a good connoisseur of the file.
Initially, it will include Shadow services (a PC offer in the cloud, Shadow PC and a storage offer, Shadow Drive), from Blade, a French cloud start-up, taken over in 2021 by Octave Klaba. Qwant could be the gateway.
Regarding the financial aspect, Synfonium will be 75% owned by Octave and Miroslaw Klaba, the co-founders of OVHCloud and 25% by Caisse des dépôts. The institution is currently the first shareholder of Qwant, with just over 30% of the capital, ahead of Axel Springer.
Around 150 million euros of enterprise value
The terms of the agreement are not completely defined, but according to a person close to the file Qwant would be worth around 50 million in enterprise value (including the bulk of debt) and Shadow around 100 million, so that the new set should weigh around 150 million euros initially.
But if Synfonium takes off, this new service offer could quickly weigh between 200 and 300 million euros, according to a source familiar with the matter.
The initiators of the project hope to finalize the operation this summer, for a development of Synfonium between 2024 and 2026. The new set does not start from scratch: it can rely on both the Shadow and Qwant customer base ( around one million regular users).
On the other hand, Qwant, which uses Bing (Microsoft’s search engine) for some of the search results, will have to untie and/or renegotiate its contracts with the American giant.