Alice.com, No. 467 in the Internet Retailer Top 500, has acquired Koto.com, a start-up e-marketplace headquartered in Spain, for an undisclosed amount.
Alice.com CEO Brian Wiegand says Koto will be rebranded as Alice.es, using the country domain for Spain, and launched as an e-commerce site by the end of the summer. “We expect to begin beta tests next week,” says Wiegand.
Once Spain is operational, Alice.com will next expand its European e-commerce operation to France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. “We expect to be operating in one or two of those countries within a year or so,” says Wiegand.
With the acquisition of Koto, Alice.com obtains a European base of operations, including a headquarters, marketing and administrative staff and fulfillment space. Koto also had been developing supplier relationships with European brands such as L’Oreal in France and Reckitt Benckiser in Germany, says Wiegand.
Alice.com will maintain a physical presence in Europe, but the e-commerce sites and e-marketplaces will be developed and hosted on Alice.com’s technology platform at its Middleton, WI, headquarters.
“Creating a direct relationship with the end consumer is a big initiative for manufacturers not only in the U.S., but also globally,” says Wiegand. “Joining forces with Koto.com means we can now offer consumer packaged goods brands a single, unified platform, with all the tools in place to engage consumers in both the U.S. and internationally.”
Alice.com is an e-marketplace for household goods that sells products from 350 manufacturers, featuring everyday items such as trash bags, detergent and shampoos.