“An important step in the future of the organization.” Marc de Vries, CEO of Hyves, kicked off the press conference at Hyves’ head office in Amsterdam at 11:00 this morning. About: the sale of Hyves to TMG, whereby the latter acquired 100 percent of the shares in Hyves. A press conference about the shares, the form of cooperation, sales, Hyves Mobile, concrete quick wins and agile battleships. UPDATE: Now with full video:
Press conference Hyves – sale to TMG (1-11-2010) from OKGO. on Vimeo
Despite the violence on the international stage, Hyves has been able to make good progress in the local Dutch market, De Vries believed. “We are very happy that from today we are part of the largest cross-media publishing platform in the Netherlands, Telegraaf Media Groep.” Patrick Worley is COO of TMG and asked De Vries during the press conference:
“We see this as a very big step in realizing our internet ambitions. We have already taken some steps, but this is the first big step in the Netherlands in social media. It fits well with the collection of companies at TMG. Think of Habbo.nl, Relatieplanet. We believe in this collection where everyone can keep their own identity. Each division within Telegraaf Media Groep serves its own segment. We believe in local heroes. We are convinced that with the creativity and passion we can defend and expand the position we have built up.” .
Form of cooperation
Hyves will become an independent company within TMG, emphasizes Morley. Users will not notice much about this. Will there also be a news portal on the Hyves site? “Not inconceivable,” says Morley. But independence must be preserved. “GeenStijl doesn’t listen to us when we ask them to write something.” Update: It turns out.
Will Hyves continue to have its own sales department, @johanvoets wants to know. Morley: “In the beginning, nothing changes. I really like independence, that everyone can do their own thing.” What is the direct impact of my data on Hyves? Morley: “Relatieplanet and Habbo are market leaders and successful because they handle data sensitivity very sensibly. The users experience it as pleasant.”
What will the Telegraaf reader notice? Morley: “There are millions of hypers telling us what’s happening in the Netherlands. Hopefully this will enable us at the Telegraaf to respond better to what’s going on. We see a very good source of news gathering: we gather intelligence from all Hyvers.”
De Vries reacts to the launch of Hyves Mobile during the press conference. The question in the room was why TMG didn’t wait until Hyves’ mobile plans were crystallized, that’s what Van den Ende and Deitmers invested in. De Vries: “Our expertise does not lie in payment transactions, our expertise lies in using a social layer. We make the links.” Telegraph and mobile payment? Morley: “The innovations being made at Hyves are very interesting for our wider ambitions. We see mobile payments as a growth market. Hyves can distance itself from the competition.”
There are a few examples of acquisitions that are not so successful, including SugaBabes. De Vries: “We will remain independent and we will stay here. I am convinced that we will continue to be successful.” Morley: “This company’s strengths and competences are that it is nimble in the landscape. Hyves must be able to react quickly to changes. There is a certain freedom in that. Of course, it must not get too crazy.”
For us, the Facebook elephant is smaller than for people outside this office, swears De Vries. A few years ago, Hyves made the choice not to go international. “We thought so at the time, and now we see that it is becoming a reality. There is room for a local player in all countries. We choose personal attention and local relevance. It has been a success to this day. We have had the most successful year financially. As we jokingly said a few years ago: ‘In the Netherlands there is room for Facebook next to Hyves’.”
Morley: “In the beginning there was a TV channel, now there is much more to choose from. We see a fantastically built position. The starting point for Hyves, aimed at locals, is good.” Were other parties also interested in buying Hyves, with which companies have there been discussions? De Vries: “Hyves is a successful, fast-growing Dutch Internet company. We have had constant talks over the years. “So why now TMG? De Vries: ” We have known each other a little longer than yesterday. The relationship has intensified in recent months.”
FD announced that Hyves would be in the display window. According to De Vries, there is a difference between standing in the window and discussing the possibility of a sale. De Vries: “I have never denied it. We have denied that we have put ourselves in the window.”
Stocks and pennies
The shares belong to TMG for 100 per cent. The other shareholders, including Van den Ende and Deitmers, had a significant minority interest. That interest has now also been transferred to TMG. De Vries: “We have been profitable since 2006. We are very happy about that.”
Concrete quik victories and agile battleship
De Vries sees concrete quik gains on Hyve’s marketplace, and cooperation with Speurders.nl is possible. With the VM group, which they created together with TMG last year, Hyves has seen that TMG can also operate quickly and decisively. Morley also swears that the TMG is not a slow big battleship with little movement.
Or will the founders, shareholders and people around Hyves, who have made a lot of money today, settle down on a tropical island? DeVries: “No. We just keep going like this. We looked forward to that yesterday and we still do today.”