EBay Content Moderator Besedo in French Merger as IPO Looms

  • Besedo merging with ioSquare to gain automation technology
  • Aims for initial public offering in Stockholm in 2-5 years

Besedo Global Services AB is merging with France’s ioSquare as the Swedish moderator of online content for clients such as EBay Inc. seeks to add automation technology ahead of a potential initial public offering.

The cash and share transaction is valued at 5 million euros ($5.6 million), with ioSquare taking a stake in the Swedish company, Besedo Chief Executive Officer Patrik Frisk said in an interview in Stockholm on Sept. 20. The CEO of ioSquare, Maxence Bernard, joined via Skype.

Besedo has mostly done manual content moderation, which includes checking ads before they go on to the Internet, while ioSquare has focused on automating the process through artificial intelligence and machine learning, Frisk said. The two solutions “are very dependent on each other and we feel that there are a lot of synergies that we can extract from the merger,” he said.

Besedo already counts EBay, OLX Inc. and Schibsted ASA-sites such as Blocket as its clients while ioSquare has customers such as Match Group Inc., which operates dating sites and Meetic.

The combined company expects to double sales in three years in its baseline scenario, from a projected 17 million euros this year. It also sees “hyper growth” in the amount of data it processes and forecasts a 10-fold increase next year. Frisk said the plan is to do an IPO in Stockholm in “probably two to five years.”

“We want to get traction on this and then it makes sense to look at that option,” he said. “There could be other alternatives as well, but I think that’s our main call right now.”

There may be opportunities to add new technology and services in the future, Frisk said. While the company’s offering is focused on text and images today, it may add video and virtual reality in coming years and could even expand into social media and e-commerce. Further mergers and acquisitions are also an option, Frisk said.

The company will probably open offices in Asia and the U.S., he said. It already has operations in Sweden, Colombia, Malaysia, Malta, Romania and France.

“We are planning to continue having our main focus on online marketplaces and dating sites,” he said. “With the emergence of the collaborative and sharing economy, the growth in this market is huge.”

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