AOL UK, Wal-Mart Europe Take Joint Stake in ShopSmart

[London, ENGLAND] AOL UK
and Wal-Mart Europe announced Wednesday a four-year strategic
marketing agreement and a joint stake in shopping portal
ShopSmart.com.

As part of the deal, Wal-Mart will distribute AOL disks
in its 240 ASDA stores in the U.K., while AOL UK will integrate
ASDA into its shopping, interests and lifestyle channels
as a preferred food and drink retailer.

AOL UK and ASDA will jointly take a 22.5 percent stake
in ShopSmart.com, the U.K’s number three site retail site —
Amazon (.com and .co.uk) being numbers one and two.

ASDA will transfer its shopping comparison facility Valuemad
to ShopSmart, which in turn becomes the exclusive price comparison
service on AOL UK and Germany. In addition, ShopSmart.com will
get continuous exposure in ASDA’s U.K. stores and Wal-Mart’s
German stores.

“From ‘bricks’ to ‘clicks’ this deal brings together three
companies passionate about building their businesses through
an obsession with the needs of their customers,” commented
ASDA and Wal-Mart Europe Chief Executive and President Alan
Leighton.

AOL UK Managing Director Karen Thomson reported “incredible
momentum and member growth” for AOL UK at the present, and
said the deal with Wal-Mart would “accelerate that growth
dramatically.”

The person most likely to be satisfied by the deal, ShopSmart
Chief Executive Officer Daniel Gestetner, was less hyperbolic
in his language.

“This agreement will bring the ShopSmart brand to new and
experienced users in both the U.K. and Germany. We are
convinced that it will drive our growth in both countries
through exclusive in-store promotion in ASDA and Wal-Mart,
along with integration into AOL Europe,” said Gestetner.

Launched in 1998, ShopSmart.com introduced comparative
shopping in April 1999, and provides users with editorial
ratings for shops. It has extended its reach from the U.K.
by launching services in both Germany and Sweden.

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