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Van den Ende invests millions in Advance

The investment fund Van den Ende & Deitmers invests millions of euros in the Hilversum multimedia publisher Advance and receives a 30 percent interest in this. Advance wants to increase its reach in the Netherlands faster. The company hopes to have more than 4.5 million 'relationships' with Dutch consumers by the end of 2007.

"We have been on our own for 10 years now, " says Advance founder Frans de Vries, "but our growth ambitions are greater than the growth of our company." De Vries spoke more than a year with investor Van den Ende & Deitmers to gauge if the potential owner fit his company. "I was reluctant to hear the stories you hear about venture capitalists, but this company is purely focused on our playground and is more focused on entrepreneurship than on quick returns."

The discussions with Van den Ende & Deitmers ultimately resulted in Advance announcing yesterday that the investment firm is taking a 30 percent stake in the Hilversum company. De Vries keeps to himself how much that importance is worth exactly. But the value of Advance is above 10 million euros, according to the entrepreneur.

Advance wants to use the newly acquired capital to accelerate growth on the Dutch market. As a publisher of multimedia titles such as 'Your real age', 'Stay or Go' and 'More for less', the company now has relationships with 2.5 million Dutch consumers via internet, print and television. That is overlap, but according to De Vries, the titles appeal to the consumer in several capacities. At the end of November 2006, the company signed an exclusive agreement with Postbank.

Before the end of 2007 Advance hopes to increase the number of 'entrances' to the Dutch consumer to 4.5 million. De Vries: "We are now active on the market with 8 to 9 titles, which should be 13 by the end of the year 13. In a month and a half we will introduce a concept around the theme" Quality Time ". with a concept that has to establish our name as a multimedia publisher, and I can not give details because of the importance we attach to it. "

The intended growth is organic, although De Vries does not exclude company acquisitions or the purchase of externally developed concepts. "Sixty percent of the growth comes from our existing titles, 40 percent from new titles."

The entrepreneur expects a "spectacular growth" from online activities in the coming years. He finds that Dutch advertisers and marketers in particular still spend relatively little on online media. "It is unfortunate to note that they still have little understanding and experience with that, which I believe is the explanation that relatively more traditional media is being spent, but I anticipate a turnaround in the coming year, partly due to developments concerning, for example, Google and YouTube, which contribute to the awareness process. "

De Vries points out that marketers, at large but also at small companies, increasingly want to be able to measure what their media investments generate. Online media are therefore suitable as no other media. "The possibilities and expectations must be in line with the practice."

The newly contributed capital of Van den Ende & Deitmers is used in 2008 to open foreign branches. "We are serious about that, and you have to look at which countries you start in. You are not just going to do a project." De Vries is guided in his expansion decision by the foreign activities of EyeWorks, a company with which Advance cooperates regularly, and Van den Endes company Stage Holding.

The investment fund Van den Ende & Deitmers contains 150 million euros. Two-thirds of this will be spent on investments in companies in the media, entertainment, internet and telecom sectors. The fund already acquired several Dutch participations: in Bright ( 31 percent ), Accepté ( 41 percent ) and Albumprinter.com ( 30 percent ).

Yesterday, it appeared from a blog post on FD.nl, that Hubert Deitmers personally has a minority interest in Hyves. He told Emerce not to invest in the company with Van den Ende & Deitmers.

Correction 11:55 am 170407:
Earlier this article stated that the investment in Advance amounted to more than 10 million euros. That is not correct. There was confusion about the valuation of the company and the investment amount.

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