Pentagon, the service provider for global marketplaces, has acquired the managed services division of French provider, Sonuts, in a deal which will see the UK company extend its offering to 16 new marketplaces on the continent including; Priceminister, Cdiscount, FNAC, La Redoute, Rue du Commerce and Galleries Lafayette.
Sonuts has operated marketplace stores for over 50 leading French brands and retailers, including Groupe SEB and Accor Hotels for the last four years. As part of the deal, Sonuts will transfer all the activities operating as a service provider, but will retain the Sonuts brand and finalise the repositioning of itself as a design agency.
Speaking about the acquisition, Laurence Guy, CEO of Pentagon commented, "We have been looking to properly enter the French market for a few years, but the landscape is very different from the UK due to the volume of specialist marketplaces and the challenge of finding the right integration software. There is massive revenue potential in France but it can only be unlocked with skill and local knowledge. Not only do Sonuts offer that knowledge, but they have a very credible track record managing stores for French brands and retailers, they have integrated to all the marketplaces and most importantly, they share our passion for service.”
As well as providing French merchants with a managed service for French marketplaces, the deal also opens the way for cross-border trade between the UK and France and is good news for customers of UK based software companies, Volo Commerce and Linnworks, who will now be able to enter the French market without changing software.
Guy continues, "One of the critical factors for us will always be how we integrate our merchants with a marketplace and this has been a particular problem for us in France. Our service relies on updating information in a timely manner, mapping products and attributes efficiently, and relying on the software to automate rules without error. We know we can rely on Volo and Linnworks in this respect, and we are delighted that our managed solution will enable UK merchants to expand internationally without the need to change their existing software provider."
Pentagon currently supports several marketplaces in Europe, North America and Australia for a versatile range of leading retailers including Sports Direct, Maplin Electronics, Euro Car Parts and Ann Summers, and it is expected that many will take advantage of the opportunity in France over the coming months. But it will not be expansion at all costs explains the Pentagon CEO: "As a service provider we are responsible for the full management of each merchant's store, and in many cases we are entrusted with managing highly valuable brands. The integrity of our service is paramount and we will only enter markets where we can genuinely do what we promise. In some cases that means we will work with local providers or in this particular case, through acquisition."
The deal is also good news for Sonuts, who will now focus their efforts on offering store designs for marketplaces. Francois-Xavier Morre, Sonuts’ co-founder, commented on the deal saying, "Pentagon has a very strong service proposition supported by over 100 marketplace experts at their Centre of Excellence in Bulgaria. French Marketplaces offer an incredible opportunity for brands and retailers but the work that underpins their successful exploitation requires skilled manpower. We have the local knowledge but Pentagon has the scalability in this space to provide the solution that the market demands"