Via Net.Works Acquires Amen Hosting

Via Net.Works has bought the French hosting company Amen, and is eyeing further acquisitions, the company said today. Via Net.Works, which is based in Amsterdam and has operations in the U.S. and Europe, paid 7 million Euros ($8.7 million) for Amen, one of the fastest-growing hosts in 2003.

Top European Hosting Companies By Hostnames, Dec 03
Hosting Company Dec 03 Country
1&1 Internet AG 3,505,880 Germany
Strato AG 1,918,889 Germany
Host Europe 545,336 United Kingdom
FastHosts 379,553 United Kingdom 342,715 United Kingdom
Deutsche Telekom AG 313,468 Germany
Komplex 309,451 Germany
IP Exchange GmbH 280,407 Germany
Thus 273,965 United Kingdom
Tiscali 229,814 Italy
Via Net.Works/Amen 191,211 Netherlands
EasyNet 190,775 United Kingdom

The merger will more than double Via Net.Works' European hosting customers. Amen hosts 111K hostnames, with growth of 104 percent in 2003, while Via Net.Works hosts about 81K hostnames. The purchase of Paris-based Amen adds a "cash generating pre-paid business model" that will immediately boost the company's earnings.

Via Net.Works' shared hosting customers will be migrated onto Amen's highly-automated hosting platform, which was a major benefit of the deal. "Amen's fully-automated and scaleable end-to-end operating platform will allow us to achieve meaningful cost and operational synergies," said Via Net.Works chairman Rhett Williams.

Amen's current management will remain in place. Amen spokesman Patrick Chassany called the deal an excellent strategic fit for both companies. "The combined business is well positioned to take advantage of the growth expected in hosting and related applications over the coming years," said Chassany.

Via Net.Works, which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ market, has U.S. operations in Atlanta. The company lost $27 million in the first nine months of 2003, compared to a loss of $33.7 million in the same period in 2002. It estimates its 2003 revenues at about $70 million, with the Amen deal expected to add another $7 million in annualized revenue.

Williams said the Amen deal "marks the first significant step for VIA's pro-active acquisition program as we build on the operational improvements made during 2003 and drive for sustainable profitability and free cash flow."