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Klaba set to acquire search engine Qwant

Octave Klaba, the founder of French cloud computing services company OVHcloud, is set to take control of struggling search engine Qwant following a deal with public lender Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC).

Once touted as the “French Google” by President Emmanuel Macron, Qwant failed to gain market share against the dominant Alphabet unit despite continued support by the government, which made it the default search engine for the state administration.

Qwant will be acquired via a newly created entity, Synfonium, which will be 75% owned by Octave Klaba and his brother Miroslaw, they said in a joint statement with CDC and Qwant.

CDC will own the remaining 25% shares in Synfonium, which will also include SHADOW, a cloud platform for businesses, gamers and content producers already owned by the Klabas.

Qwant, founded in 2011 with the promise of safeguarding its users’ privacy, relies partly on the technology of Microsoft’s web search engine Bing after the company signed a partnership with the tech giant in 2019.

The finalization of the deal, whose financials details were not disclosed, will follow “an analysis of recent changes in the financial conditions” of the Microsoft partnership with Qwant, according to the statement.

Qwant’s financials and current shareholding structure were also not disclosed. CDC is presented as a “cornerstone shareholder” in the companies’ statement. Reuters

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