Emerge has announced their asset purchase of WagJag.
The Toronto-based Emerge, formerly known as Transformational Capital, completed the acquisition of WagJag for an undisclosed amount from Metroland Media Group, a subsidiary of the Torstar Corporation. The purchase is the latest in a string of acquisitions over the last 18 months for Emerge, including Shop.ca and Buytopia.
WagJag is the brand’s fourth total acquisition and the largest Canadian purchase to date, adding an incremental member base of over one million users. This will grow Emerge’s total customer base to over four million in total, with three million of those residing in Canada.
WagJag is a seven-year-old e-commerce company that provides discounted staycations, experiences and travel across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). As an example to how popular the site is, WagJag recently offered a deal on Lindt chocolate that saw over 10,000 total vouchers sold.
The brands under Emerge can now work together to offer consumers the best possible e-commerce experience.
“From a consumer perspective, you get the benefit of all deals across the network,” said Ghassan Halazon, founder and CEO of Emerge. “Any home run deal secured elsewhere, like Buytopia or Shop.ca, gets relayed to the WagJag member base. There’s this cross-selling element that consumers gain from.”
One thing that made WagJag so appealing to Emerge is the brand’s awareness and market position just outside the GTA. Areas like Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Niagara all have customers using WagJag, and in many cases, it is often the only kind of site that offers services like local experiences and adventures. The acquisition will lead to more savings for these somewhat under-served customer bases.
“When we’re now negotiating with merchants, we have the leverage of this combined portfolio,” says Halazon. “We’re able to drive significant savings for customers by offering more scale than any brand could have on its own.”
WagJag will now be able to run much more efficiently through a new platform. One of the reasons Emerge exists is due to the inefficiencies in e-commerce right now, consolidating the portfolio and sweeping discounts across all kinds of services—from hosting to security to email. These savings are passed on to the customer.
“Between WagJag, Shop.ca and Buytopia, we now have three of the most coveted e-commerce sites in Canada,” explains Halazon. “We have a playbook where we are acquiring customers substantially cheaper than the average e-commerce company. We’re driving value from a business perspective as well as a customer experience perspective.”
Emerge will continue to work with WagJag to see what makes the brand unique and synergize with their strengths. Halazon noted that finding a good fit and maintaining growth is key, but at the same time, the brand must learn from past acquisitions as well.
Since 2016, Emerge has been on a spree of acquiring under-performing e-commerce companies Halazon dubbed “loss-making giants.”