DFJ sells buy.at

UK venture capital firm DFJ Esprit has sold portfolio company buy.at, a UK e-commerce business, to US internet giant AOL.

The London-headquartered business will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Advertising.com, AOL’s online advertising services arm. Buy.at is an online marketing service for publishers and advertisers. Unlike traditional display advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) models, under the buy.at model, advertisers only pay when a visitor to its site makes a purchase, signs up for a free trial or similar.

The company, which also has offices in Newcastle in the UK and New York in the US, was backed by DFJ Esprit less than two years ago. Buy.at is the trading name of Perfiliate Limited and Perfiliate Technologies Limited, which were founded in 1999. Perfiliate Technologies launched buy.at three years later, and in 2006 raised £7.3m of investment from Cazenove Private Equity. At the same time Bruce McLaren, the former CEO of Advertising.com who oversaw the company’s sale to AOL, was installed as chairman of buy.at.