GfK's Strategic Expansion

Research group GfK has taken two new steps towards expanding its presence in the fields of Internet, e-commerce and customer relationship management. It has acquired, as of mid January, 65% of the Swedish Net researcher Orange Interactive Research, along with just under 20% of US e-commmerce specialists Caribou Lake Software.

It has also been announced that both acquisition contracts allow GfK to gradually build up its stake to 100 % over the next few years. Commenting on the acquisitions, Dr. Klaus L. Wübbenhorst, CEO of GfK AG, explained that, "The two companies ideally expand and give greater depth to our services in database marketing, customer relationship management and e-business. With Orange Interactive Research we are consolidating the services we offer for online surveys and studies on the acceptance of online media, e-commerce, new forms of dialogue and one-to-one marketing on the Internet. In Caribou Lake Software we have found an excellent partner for our activities in database marketing and customer relationship management."

Orange Interactive Research (OIR) was originally established in 1998 and has become a leading Swedish Internet research consultancy. It has built up business in both B2B and B2C markets, and is also carrying out research into developing websites and marketing on the web. Past work has covered employee surveys on working with new media and technologies, customer Internet satisfaction surveys, e-business and customer relationship marketing, and a variety of online surveys. Current clients include Ericsson, Tetra Pak, Siemens and Electrolux. These should help to bring in a projected Euro2 million by the end of 2001.

Caribou Lake Software was originally established in the USA in 1996. It continues to provide its clients with e-commerce consultancy in both the B2B and B2C markets. The company also has a range of Java-based software for customer relationship databases, as well as training packages for Java. The company´s current clients include Seagate Technology, Andersen Consulting, Federal Express, AT&T, DaimlerChrysler, Hewlett Packard and Siemens.