Two of Europe’s biggest names in personalized photo products have combined. albelli (owned by Gilde Buy Out Partners) and Photobox (owned by Exponent), announced a merger creating what it calls a “leading player in the online European Photo Product and Gifting market.” Gilde and Exponent will retain ownership of the combined business together with the management teams of both businesses. Gilde was advised by Clifford Chance.
The combination had been rumored since last fall. The combined company will serve a pan-European customer base of more than 7 million customers, supported by 1,150 employees across the United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, and Sweden. albelli and Photobox enjoy complementary business strategies and a shared focus on customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
Photobox previously owned Moonpig, the greeting-card brand which was successfully floated in London last February. Moonpig also operates Dutch retailer Greetz, which Photobox acquired in 2018. Exponent acquired Photobox in 2016, for an undisclosed sum, from a wide ownership base, including six VC investors and a range of individual small shareholders.
Albelli, formerly known as Albumprinter, was purchased from Cimpress by Gilde Out Partners in 2017. The company bought France’s Monalbumphoto SAS from Métropole Télévision S.A. in 2018.
In a statement, the companies claimed the “combined business will benefit from sharing best practice knowledge, streamlining procurement and supply chain processes, and the scale of a larger group. In addition, the merger will allow both businesses to accelerate strategic initiatives to better serve customers, including its focus on mobile apps. The existing consumer brands, including Photobox and albelli, will remain, given their strength in their respective markets. Over time, customers will enjoy an increased product portfolio and improved customer experience.”
A complementary combination
From a geographic standpoint, the combination is complementary. Abelli operates the Bonusprint brand (which is purchased in 2011), in markets including Belgium, France, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, Photobox trades in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Spain.
A new group management board has been established to govern the combined business and ensure a smooth integration process, comprising Tristan Money (CEO albelli), Dan Mucha (CEO Photobox), Leon Kerckhaert (CFO albelli), and Jon Mitchell (CFO Photobox). Money will assume the responsibility of Group CEO while Mitchell will become Group CFO.
“We believe this is a unique opportunity for two great companies which have a lot in common, to join forces and accelerate our customer-first strategies,” said Money. “I’m very excited to embark on this new chapter with Photobox and believe that together we will be able to better service our existing customers while inspiring millions more customers to easily make beautiful photo products.”
“Combining both businesses creates an opportunity to deliver the best end-to-end experience to more customers in Europe,” says Mucha, CEO of Photobox. “By combining and building on the strengths of each company, we will be able to raise the bar on quality, ease of use, and innovation.”