GUS buys wheezing Breathe.com’s assets for $2m

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The Great Universal Stores (GUS) has purchased the assets and technology of Breathe.com for $2,083,000 to expand its capabilities in the growing market for remote shopping. It will assume none of the business’ previous liabilities.

Breathe.com is attractive to GUS because of its substantial expertise and technology in enabling multi-device access to the internet, using PCs, WAP phones and other devices.

“Breathe.com has been very advanced in developing access to the Internet, with ease-of-use the topmost priority,” said John Peace, chief executive of GUS.

Ease of use has been the priority since Breathe.com was launched in 1999:
• the website and WAP portal mirror each other exactly so that the navigation route is the same whether browsing via a PC or on the phone;
• users are given a single login for all Breathe services, whether accessed via a PC or WAP phone;
• any mobile network can be used to access Breathe.com; and
• Breathe has also developed voice-recognition, which can be used to navigate the portal. This is particularly useful for drivers and people on the move.

The purchase of the assets of Breathe.com brings to GUS:
• established skills and technology for managing information content on portals and providing multi-device access to the Internet. This will be particularly attractive to Reality, whose clients are increasingly demanding the ability to communicate and sell to their customers through many channels, be it via phone, mobile phone, the internet or digital TV;
• an experienced management team, with around 80 staff in the technical and service development team, with a depth of expertise across web, WAP and voice access platforms, together with web content and personalisation tools; and
• an established internet portal, with over 300,000 registered customers, including 70,000 dial-up users.

In the nine months to 30 September 2000, Breathe.com generated sales of $2,083,000, predominantly from advertising revenue and commissions. GUS expects Breathe.com to incur losses of between $5.9 million and $10.4 million in its next financial year.

GUS

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