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MasterCard invests in Mu Sigma, Google in Channel Intelligence

Thursday 14 February 2013

MasterCard and Google invest in companies to analyze and capitalize purchasers’ behavior insights.


MasterCard has acquired an equity stake in Mu Sigma, a decision sciences and analytics firm. As part of the deal, MasterCard Advisors, a division of MasterCard, and Mu Sigma will combine the former’s purchase behavior insights with the latter’s analytics, to assist each other’s clients in a variety of different verticals.


According to MasterCard, the ‘Big Data’ analytics market stood at over US$ 5 billion (EUR 3.7 billion) in 2012 and is expected to reach US$ 50 billion (EUR 37 billion) within five years. Mu Sigma is a company consisted of more than 2,500 “decision science professionals” that help to analyze data for many industries, such as the healthcare, financial services, insurance, consumer packaged goods and retail sectors.


At the same time, Google is set to acquire ICG Group’s unit, Channel Intelligence (CI), for US$ 125 million (EUR 93 million) in cash, giving the search-engine giant another tool in its expanding eCommerce business. CI assists retailers in selling their products online through a handful of services, while in turn helping customers find and buy products more easily. CI promotes retailers’ products on comparison shopping sites like Google Shopping, Nextag and PriceGrabber, and keeps that comparison data up-to-date. It also helps manufacturers set up “where to buy it” buttons on their websites, directing consumers to stores that sell their products. CI works with more than 850 retailers in 31 countries, including big names such as Best Buy, Target and Microsoft. CI tracks nearly 15% of US transactions online and drives US$ 2 billion (EUR 1.5 billion) in sales annually, according to the company’s website.


The deal, expected to close in Q1/2013, comes as Google has been working to bolster its Google Shopping site, which has lagged far behind and eBay in shopping-related searches. To boost revenue, the company recently converted Google Shopping from a free product-search service into a paid model, requiring online retailers to bid to display their products on the site. Google also has been working with retailers that compete with Amazon by helping them reach consumers through its search engine.