O2 buys out EE and Vodafone’s share in Weve

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JV was launched in 2013 to give operators route in to mobile advertising

The three year partnership between O2, EE and Vodafone to break in to mobile advertising has unravelled after O2 bought out its partners’ share in Weve.

The operators initially invested a joint £40 million to set up Weve in 2013 to collect data from more than 20 million mobile customers on their networks, allowing them to target advertising to specific groups.

Weve will now become a wholly-owned subsidiary of O2, giving it access to a further 20 million opt-ins through O2 Priority (6 million) and O2 Wifi (14 million).

Those who opt-in to the service can receive location-based SMS messages informing them of special offers in the area, while it also provides mobile payment options after striking a deal with Mastercard last year.

According to O2, Weve grew by 45 per cent in 2014, while the mobile digital advertising market almost doubled to £850 million in the same time.

O2 digital director David Plumb said having only one owner to answer to instead of three will allow Weve to become much more agile.

“With O2’s heritage in digital services and as a pioneer in digital advertising, we are perfectly placed to capitalise on this potential,” Plumb added. “We are therefore pleased to announce that after a strategic re-evaluation of the joint venture, O2 is acquiring Weve.

“With more data sets and richer analytics, it will be better and with only one owner to answer to, it will be faster. Through this acquisition we will be able to offer our business customers the platform to offer their customers more personal and contextually relevant offers.”

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