The headline made the headlines in the specialized media: “Octave Klaba wants to buy the French search engine Qwant”. Indeed, the president and founder of OVHcloud has clearly announced his desire to buy Qwant, as part of his ambitious project to create a European champion, called “Synfonium”. We hope for nothing less, if only to attempt a paradigm shift, in the hope that Google’s hegemony will soon come to an end. Deciphering!
Klaba wants to buy the “French Google”
There was a time when Qwant was the great hope of the French tech to checkmate Google. That hope is no more… unless the made-in-France, privacy-friendly search engine is saved in extremis by a certain Octave Klaba. We told you, the founder of OVH clearly displays his desire to buy Qwant, a search engine in great difficulty, which has, until now, never managed to take off, despite all the hopes it raised. For Klaba, the time has come to give a new impetus to Qwant, whose original goal was to bethe European alternative to Google, with one difference… Qwant respects personal data. The same cannot be said about Google!
Agreement with CDC, the underside of the “deal”
The latest news is that Octave Klaba is said to be on the verge of taking control of Qwant, following a deal with the Caisse des dépôts et consignations (CDC). Once considered the “French Google” by Emmanuel Macron, Qwant has not really succeeded in taking market share from Google, despite continued support from the government, which has made it the default search engine for the public administration.
What are the terms of the deal? In all likelihood, the French search engine will be acquired via Octave Klaba’s newly created entity, Synfonium, which will be 75% owned by himself and his brother Miroslaw. CDC, for its part, will hold the remaining 25% of Synfonium’s shares.
Qwant valued at €50 million
The idea is that Synfonium will cohabit Qwant and Shadow, a cloud computing and storage service bought in 2021 by Octave Klaba. The only downside is that Qwant, despite all its difficulties, is valued at50 million euros. In truth, the valuation is mostly debt, as the company has never made a profit. For its part, Shadow has a valuation of100 million euros because, unlike Qwant, the company is profitable and boasts annual revenues of 20 million euros.
One can only (re)emphasize the importance of having a serious, credible, and personal data friendly alternative to face the worrying hegemony of Google. That’s the whole point of this buyout, as Antoine Troesch, the investment director of the Banque des Territoires (CDC), seems to confirm: “From the beginning, there has been an alternative European desire in this project focused on respecting privacy in the face of American players. We need to inject a lot of money and back it up with an industrial project”.