In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Round2 CEO Brandon Proctor says a deeper use of analytics to boost customer conversion is a top priority.
Online jeweler Ice.com is under new ownership, and the CEO of the company making the acquisition is the former vice president of marketing at Build.com.
Ice.com, No. 310 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Top 500 has been sold for an undisclosed sum to Round2 Inc., a new e-commerce company headed by CEO Brandon Proctor. Proctor previously headed up marketing for online home improvement retailer Build.com (No. 80).
Round2 Inc. acquired Ice.com because of its niche in the online diamond and jewelry category, its brand recognition and base of loyal customers, Proctor says. As part of the transition to new owners, Ice.com will move its operation to Austin, TX, from Montreal, although a timetable has yet to be finalized.
Outgoing Ice.com CEO Shmuel Gniwisch confirmed to Internet Retailer in August that Ice’s board had approved entering into discussions with possible buyers.
After a strong start in 1999 that eventually attracted capital from Ignition Partners and Polaris Ventures, Ice has faced tough times for the past five years. The Top 500 Guide reports 2012 sales for Ice.com of $45 million, down 46% from a high of $83.4 million in 2007. “It’s been a struggle to grow because of the U.S. economy and because all the big retailers are getting active in e-commerce, which is increasing the competition,” Gniwisch told Internet Retailer in August. “The pie isn’t big enough for everyone to grow without having to take a piece from someone else.”
Round2 Inc. is purchasing Ice.com with the intention of using what Proctor calls Round 2’s “deep analytics expertise to take advantage of Ice.com’s massive brand loyalty.” An immediate priority is boosting Ice.com’s conversion rate, which the Top 500 Guide reports as about 1.6%. “We see a lot of untapped potential,” Proctor says.
After leaving Ice.com, Gniwisch says he will serve as a consultant to help FST21, a biometric and analytic technologies company based in Israel, expand its North American operation. “In conjunction with the deal, I will be stepping down as the CEO and will assist in the transition over the next few weeks before departing,” Gniwisch says. “My time here at Ice.com represents the most engaging and challenging time of my professional career.”