3i invests €20 million in Internet payment service Click&Buy, aiding expansion

Kurt Peters

Zug, Switzerland, 01/03/2006: 3i, world leading private equity and venture capital company, today announces a €20 million investment in Zug (Switzerland) based WebPay AG, owner of market leading "Click&Buy;", a pan-European product for Internet retailers.

Click&Buy; is Europe`s leading online payment system used by more than 5 million consumers on 4,000 merchant web-sites. This allows retailers to outsource complex billing of content, services and physical goods and processing of local currency and credit cards to WebPay, an expert in the field. The product has proved so successful that WebPay plans to expand further into Europe, the US and Latin America over the next few years with the support of 3i.

In the last six months alone, WebPay has won many well-known brands as customers, including Apple iTunes and Microsoft Music, who deliver music downloads across Europe with the help of Click&Buy.; Furthermore there are a number of leading European publishers on Click&Buy;`s client list including Financial Times, Spiegel, Stern, Focus, n-tv and bild.de.

Fraud prevention systems play a key role in the development of the online payment market. Click&Buy; has developed their own fraud prevention system, which protects both the customer and the merchant from misuse. In addition to the safety aspect, the speed and user-friendliness of the Click&Buy; platform has considerably contributed to the rapid uptake of the service.

Christian Siegele, Partner, 3i Germany, explained: "Given strong broadband penetration and massive uptake of killer applications like online music downloads and gaming which will further accelerate growth of online payment systems, 3i is very excited about driving global development of the Click & Buy payment solution. We believe this will take Click&Buy;`s leadership position in Germany and Europe to an international level."

Norbert Stangl, founder and chairman of WebPay AG, which operates the Click&Buy; system, said: "3i is the ideal partner for our European and worldwide expansion. In addition to a first class brand, 3i has a global network consisting of the top names in the Internet field - an advantage not to be underestimated when considering the rollout of Click&Buy.;"

With the 3i investment in WebPay AG, the company is fully funded to execute on its expansion strategy. In the medium-term the company plans a stock exchange float.

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital. We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital and Venture Capital and invest across Europe, in the United States and in Asia Pacific. Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our relationships in business. These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders.

In the 6 months to 30 September 2005, 3i achieved realisations of over £1bn and invested £835m, including co-investment funds, of which 3i`s Venture Capital business invested £58m in early stage technology companies globally across four specialist sectors: communications, software, healthcare and electronics, semiconductors and advanced technologies ("ESAT"). Its portfolio of 200 companies includes Vonage (VOIP), Udex (RFID), Microsulis (medtech), EnOcean (energy) with successful realisations through Interhyp, dtms, RedDot, Element5, Bookham, CSR, Arakis, UbiNetics and many others.


3i, Finance, Financial economics, Private equity, Venture capital