The Dutch digital kiosk Blendle is taken over by its French competitor Cafeyn. The two companies will jointly serve around 1.5 million users in the Netherlands, France, Italy and the United Kingdom, and users will have access to many more newspapers and magazines.
Both companies will announce this on Thursday morning. Co-founder Alexander Klöpping says that with this deal, he is fulfilling his long-held dream of expanding abroad. At the moment, Blendle is active in the Netherlands, Germany and the United States, but many more countries will be added at once, he says.
"Last year we went looking for a new investor to finance new steps abroad. During that search we found out that Cafeyn was looking for a company to take over. We talked to them and then the spark struck about."
Klöpping had not planned it that way, but thought it wise to go for the takeover. "I thought: we can go abroad alone and then compete against Cafeyn, or we can compete with parties like Apple, Google and Facebook all over Europe together with Cafeyn."
Founded in 2006, Cafeyn will acquire 100 percent of Blendle's shares. Klöpping does not want to say what the French company pays for this.
After the takeover, he himself stops as CEO of Blendle. From now on, he will focus on the journalistic vision of the company on the board of Cafeyn. Ari Assuied, founder of Cafeyn, will lead the entire Cafeyn Group, including Blendle. The daily management of Blendle is in the hands of current CCO Willem-Jan Lems.
No layoffs through takeover
Little changes for Blendle employees. About 50 people now work at the company and they can all continue to work there. "Some people will get different roles, but Blendle is such a young company that there is actually continuous change. People are very used to that," says Klöpping.
"The biggest change for them will be that the product they make will not only be owned by our 80,000 users, but by 1,5 million users."
Users continue to pay ten euros a month
Users will not notice much of the acquisition in the short term either, other than accessing over 2,500 titles.
"Our users now pay ten euros a month, and it will remain that way," says Klöpping. "We will take over some functionality from Cafeyn and she will also take over from us, but in the short term Blendle will keep its own name and app." Klöpping does not know when that could change.
Klöpping founded Blendle in 2014 together with Marten Blankesteijn, who decided to focus on other matters in 2017. In recent years, Blendle has struggled with the revenue model. Users first paid per article, but last year all users were put on a model where they pay per month. This was not well received by all users.