Weve, the former mobile marketing joint venture between EE, O2 and Vodafone, will now operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of O2 after being acquired by Telefónica’s UK business.

It will now focus on mobile advertising, putting an end to the JV’s former ambitions in the m-payments field. David Plumb, O2 Digital Director, said the service grew 45 percent in 2014 after targeting this space.

O2 said the deal came at the end of a strategic evaluation to address the opportunities presented to Weve in the mobile marketing space.

The UK operator said the acquisition would present Weve with 20 million extra service “opt-ins”, including 14 million through O2 Wi-Fi and an additional six million through the operator’s Priority service, which offers customers exclusive offers and discounts.

According to the operator, the bowing out of rivals EE and Vodafone will give Weve the agility to move forward in the market at a faster pace with only one shareholder at the helm, rather than three.

O2 claimed it would also enable Weve to provide deeper data and analytics insights to the operator’s business customers, resulting in more relevant and targeting advertising opportunities.

The UK operator is being sold to Three, the only telco which opted out of the joint venture when it launched in 2012.

O2 was unable to disclose financial details surrounding the Weve acquisition. However, a spokesperson from the operator told European Communications that Weve was “hugely valuable” to the company.

Plumb said: “The UK mobile digital advertising market is big, growing by almost 100% year on year to £850m in 2014. With O2’s heritage in digital services and as a pioneer in digital advertising, we are perfectly placed to capitalise on this potential.

“By bringing Weve in house we will be making it bigger with an additional 20million opt ins through O2 Wifi and Priority. With more data sets and richer analytics, it will be better and with only one owner to answer to, it will be faster.”​

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