Finance

Hitwise founders get online marketing firm Ansearch back on track

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Listed online marketing firm Ansearch expects to return to profitability in 2008-09 after its unaudited accounts for 2007-08 showed a 49% jump in revenue to $12.3 million.

Listed online marketing firm Ansearch expects to return to profitability in 2008-09 after its unaudited accounts for 2007-08 showed a 49% jump in revenue to $12.3 million.

Chief executive David Burden says the company, which provides services including web development, search engine marketing and optimisation and also runs web advertising and search divisions, has been heavily restructured in the last 10 months.

There has been a raft of management and board changes, unviable projects have been cancelled, a cost reduction program has been implemented and about 20% of its workforce has been slashed.

“I’m confident that we’ve nailed those issues,” Burden says. “Unfortunately this business had suffered from an endemic lack of focus and poor management. We are pretty excited about having things back on track.”

He says the restructure of the company was sparked when the board imploded last October. Hitwise co-founder Andrew Barlow became chairman and set about making changes. “It was his vision to rebuild the company from the top down, starting with the board,” Burden says.

Barlow bought his fellow Hitwise co-founder Adrian Giles in as a director and also lured technology industry veteran Adrian Vanzyl on to the board.

The company suffered another hiccup in February when ANZ seized more than 10% of the company’s shares after the collapse of broker Opes Prime. Former director Dean Jones was one of the investors who used his stake to secure a loan from the broker.

A few weeks later, Barlow and Giles stepped in and increased their stakes in Ansearch to help restore investor confidence. Barlow now owns 15.1 million shares (worth around $226,500) while Giles has 4.5 million shares (worth $67,500).

While Burden admits there is still some corporate restructuring to be done, the operations of Ansearch are in good enough shape to push the company back into the black. “We see returning to profitability as absolutely key to the future of this business.”

 

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