BzzAgent Bought by Tesco’s Dunnhumby, Brings Social Marketing Expertise to Retail Giant

5/23/11Follow @gthuang

Boston social-marketing company BzzAgent said today it is being acquired by U.K.-based consumer analytics firm Dunnhumby, a subsidiary of retail giant Tesco. Terms were not disclosed, but various media reports put the acquisition price at $60 million, contingent on BzzAgent hitting certain milestones.

BzzAgent started in 2001 and has amassed a network of 800,000 consumer “agents” who try out goods and services and compete to generate buzz about them. Its big customers include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oreal, and Michelin. The company has more than 50 employees and has been backed by Flybridge Capital Partners and General Catalyst Partners.

BzzAgent is part of a marketing-tech mini-cluster around Boston which also includes HubSpot, Constant Contact, Demandware, Performable, oneforty, and SMTP. BzzAgent will operate as a stand-alone business within Dunnhumby, and founder and CEO Dave Balter will continue in his current role, according to the press release.

It sounds like the merger of these companies will lead to an interesting exploration of how social buzz translates into consumer spending habits—which will be of great interest to technologists, marketers, and retailers alike.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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