Korea’s SK Planet buys US BLE offers platform Shopkick

Mobile offers platform Shopkick, which is working with a number of high profile US retailers to roll out a network of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons, has been acquired by SK Planet (SKP), operator of Korea’s largest shopper rewards program and part of the same group as carrier SK Telecom.

SK Planet and Shopkick

SK Planet’s OKcashbag rewards program has 38m users and processes US$50bn in transactions a year. Shopkick’s ShopBeacon platform has been installed by 3,000 large US stores including all Macy’s department stores and selected outlets of American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, JC Penney, Old Navy and Target. Brand owners that have used the platform to deliver offers to consumers include Procter & Gamble, Mondelez, Revlon, Unilever and Pepsi.

“The merger will bolster SKP’s leadership position in the global commerce markets and grow the newly combined business at a massive scale,” says SK Planet. “Shopkick will continue under the leadership and vision of the current management team, but will add the resources and business assets of SKP to further accelerate its rapid growth among shoppers, retailers and brands.”

“The acquisition of Shopkick will create the key platform of SK Planet’s US mobile commerce business, and also expand our global market position,” says CEO Jinwoo So.  “Shopkick’s dominant leadership position in mobile shopping in the US combined with our depth of business assets will allow us to build the best shopping products across the globe. Together, we will expand well beyond mobile, connecting online and offline shopping experiences in unprecedented ways.”

“Our vision is to build the most beautiful and useful digital user interface on top of the physical shopping world,” adds Cyriac Roeding, CEO and co-founder of Shopkick. “When I first heard Jinwoo speak of SK Planet’s vision, it sounded like we were from the same company – that’s how closely our strategies are aligned.

“We were at a point where we needed an infusion of resources and reach to keep up with the incredible demand and growth across partner retailers, brands and users. What we got goes well beyond that; we can now drive SK Planet’s international leadership forward in the US, and SK Planet will help us achieve our global visions.”

The value of the transaction has not been disclosed but is believed to be around US$200m, “a person familiar with the matter” told The Wall Street Journal.

Next: Visit the NFCW Expo to find new suppliers and solutions