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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 18, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Retail tech vendor Mercent sold

Mercent just announced that it’s been sold to CommerceHub, an Albany, N.Y., e-commerce company.

Seattle-based Mercent provides online retailers with tools and services to manage and optimize online campaigns.

Mercent was started by veterans of Amazon.com. Chief Executive Eric Best left Microsoft to start a website development company that he sold to Amazon in 1999. In 2000 he and Chris Morse started a company that spawned Mercent.

CommerceHub is a subsidiary of Liberty Ventures, which is part of the Liberty Interactive conglomerate. The deal puts Mercent under the same umbrella as QVC and makes it a cousin of Bellevue-based Expedia. Approval for the deal came in part from Liberty Media Chief Executive Greg Maffei, who was Microsoft’s chief financial officer in the mid to late 1990s.

“We evaluated all the providers in this space and consulted a number of large retailers regarding their current solutions,” CommereHub Chief Executive Frank Poore said in a release. “Mercent stood out as the only combination of enterprise-scale platform and services that are ready for the caliber of retailers we support.”

Combined, the companies annually touch an estimated $10 billion worth of merchandise sales, and their systems are integrated with more than 200 major retailers such as Costco, Walmart and JCPenney and 8,500 brands and distributors. They optimize about 50 million unique products for data compliance, channel syndication and sales performance, the release said.

Mercent employs about 100 people and CommerceHub has about 200. Layoffs won’t result from the merger and CommerceHub expects to invest in growing Mercent, Poore said in an interview.

“This is a growth proposition,” he said. “We’re not coming in there to look for cost reductions. We’re looking to grow the business and have a greater suite of offerings for our retailers.”

Best will become chief marketing officer of CommerceHub.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Mercent had raised $17 million from investors and it did well, Best said.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” he said.

Comments | Topics: Amazon.com, expedia, mercent

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