Pavel Zima (GM)
Seznam.cz (or just Seznam, which means directory in English) is a web portal and search engine in the Czech Republic. Founded in 1996 by Ivo Lukačovič in Prague as the first web portal in the Czech Republic. Seznam started with a search engine and an internet version of yellow pages. Today, Seznam runs more than 15 different web services and associated brands. Seznam had more than 6 million real users per month at the end of 2014. Among the most popular services, according to NetMonitor, are its homepage seznam.cz, email.cz, search.seznam.cz and its yellow pages firmy.cz.
In the Czech market, Seznam.cz was until 2008 in competition with the portals Centrum.cz and Atlas.cz. These two portals, despite merging in 2008, no longer appear likely to overcome Seznam in the near future. Seznam's biggest competitor now appears to be global Google, especially in the area of full-text search.
As of May 2012, according to Toplist results, Seznam was the second internet search engine in the Czech Republic (42.84%) with Google in the top spot (54.69%).. By August 2014, still according to Toplist's statistics, Seznam's share of searches had further eroded to 38%.
Seznam, like four other companies in the world, was for a long time the number one search engine in its region. Other such search engines are Baidu (China), Naver (South Korea), Yahoo Japan (Japan) and Yandex (Russia).
Since 2011, Seznam has used as its slogan a Czech rhyme Seznam - najdu tam, co hledám (Seznam - I find there, what I search for). Prior to this its slogan was Seznam - najdu tam, co neznám (Seznam - I find there, what I don't know).
Founded by Ivo Lukačovič in 1996, Seznam began as the first internet yellow pages and search engine in the Czech Republic. Ivo started his business with 50,000 CZK he had saved up. In 1998, Seznam added email to its portfolio, with email accounts running on the @seznam.cz domain. Since then, more brands and services have come on-line. Since 2001, Seznam has included financial, social and political news, TV programs, weather forecasts, dictionaries, maps and community services.
In 2000, Spray International, a Swedish web portal company, invested in Seznam. At that time Seznam became a joint stock company. Until 2000, Ivo Lukačovič was self-employed and Seznam was his own sole business. With the investment, it is estimated that Spray International acquired around 30% share of Seznam. Exact numbers are not known, as Lukačovič and Seznam officials have never released any details about the transaction. What has been confirmed, though, is that Ivo Lukačovič retained at least 70% of Seznam stock after the investment.
Spray acquired a stake in Seznam with the intention of making an IPO; however, Spray never reached that goal. After the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, Spray abandoned the idea. There are rumors about Spray defaulting on its obligations to Ivo Lukačovič by not making an IPO. In 2003, Ivo Lukačovič increased the base capital of Seznam without Spray and became 70% owner of Seznam. Since 2003, Ivo Lukačovič has remained the controlling shareholder of Seznam.
Until 2003, Seznam had been using a fulltext engine from the Czech company Jyxo; however, in 2005, Seznam replaced that search engine with its own technology. Also in 2005, Seznam acquired the Czech firm ATC which was, among other ventures, running the email server Email.cz. Email services Email.cz and Seznam.cz have now merged.
In 2006, Seznam moved its headquarters from Prague Košíře to a more prominent location in the Prague Anděl. That year, Ivo Lukačovič gave up the day-to-day business direction of Seznam, and Pavel Zima became CEO. In the Fall of 2006, Seznam acquired all email users from another web portal, "Czech On Line", with the domain @post.cz.
Seznam bought 50% of Global Inspiration, a Czech company running a video portal Stream.cz, similar to the global YouTube in 2007. Lycos Europe (a subsequent incarnation of Spray International) sold its 30% share in Seznam to Tiger Holding and Miura International. Lycos received more than 1.7 billion CZK from this transaction. As of 2015, Miura International S.a.r.l. had 5,6% of shares, Tiger holding four S.a.r.l. had 24,4% of shares and Helifreak limited had 70% of shares.
In 2008, the Czech media reported on alleged meetings between Seznam and Goldman Sachs representatives to find a buyer for Seznam. Ivo Lukačovič and Seznam representatives denied this. Such speculation ended with the start of the financial crisis in Europe in late 2008.
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