Naviant to Move into Europe with VNU Joint Venture

European publisher and media company VNU Thursday announced that its Claritas unit and U.S.-based database marketer Naviant Marketing Solutions will spin off a European joint venture.

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania-based Naviant manages companies’ online software and hardware product registrations. In return, it builds a database of consumer profiles, lifestyle information, demographics and addresses for sale to marketers. Currently, the company has about 24 million names and addresses in its database. The company also handles on- and offline direct marketing for Internet clients, and recently began an initiative to license its collection and marketing technology to advertising agencies.

Claritas, headquartered in Haarlem, The Netherlands, is one of Europe’s leading database marketing, direct marketing and list rental companies. Similarly to Naviant, the company collects consumer data through product registration questionnaires and lifestyle surveys. Claritas has offices in nine European countries.

“Europe represents the largest major economic market in the world and the number of Internet users is growing rapidly … making Naviant Europe a crucial step forward in our strategic business plan,” said Naviant chief executive officer Charles Stryker.

“We will essentially be replicating Naviant Marketing Solutions’ U.S. operating model and utilizing our registration customers, technology, and products for the European business. Being the dominant provider of demographics in Europe, Claritas provides the infrastructure, lifestyle database, local market knowledge, and fulfillment delivery services to make Naviant Europe a success,” he added.

Naviant Europe will be based in London and will establish subsidiaries in France and Germany. Each partner will own half of the company, which is expected to begin operations later this year.

Once completed, Naviant Europe will possess one of Europe’s largest online marketing databases. Currently, the combined companies have about 800,000 European names and profiles in the database; by 2005, the companies expect Naviant Europe to have about 20 million.

“Our two companies dominate the segments of the market that are required to rapidly complete the development and implementation of a database of Internet-enabled households in Europe and deliver the products to the market,” said VNU chairman Peter Tordoir.

“By marrying online data obtained through product registrations with offline demographics, we will offer our clients unparalleled direct and Web-based target marketing.”

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