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Jungle buys Software Warehouse ahead of planned IPO

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Steve Bennett's Jungle.com is to buy his PC mail order business Software Warehouse. The online music and IT venture expects to complete the share swap by the end of April, giving Software Warehouse shareholders 15 per cent ownership of Jungle. Through the deal it will take Software Warehouse's mail order, warehouse and logistics businesses. Jungle has also bought its business-to-business outfit, Corporate Direct, as well as Software Warehouse in Australia. Jungle will gain 500 staff and about £70 million in annual sales through the deal. It does not, apparently, want the chain of computer shops, which Software Warehouse plans to offload to a separate buyer. After the share price drop of online monsters such as lastminute.com, this reorganisation of Bennett's companies should put some solid logistics behind Jungle, which is expected to IPO imminently. "This will give Jungle a much better turnover and turn it into a bigger company," said Bennett, who declined to comment on flotation plans. The sale of Software Warehouse's retail arm, which is expected to take the form of a management buy out, should be completed in the next couple of months. Last August, Venture capitalist 3i agreed to pump £10 million into Jungle. ® Related stories: Jungle customers earn discounts through free ISP Jungle.com doubles first month sales target 3i drums beat for Jungle online

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