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Web 3.0 & Gannett (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Sep 27th 2007

Acquisition Targets

Gannett doesn’t have much of a presence in the Online Personals or Dating space. It could look at acquiring a site as a large portion of the newspaper personals have shifted from print to the Internet and Gannett should preserve its share of the pie. Gannett could consider acquiring sites like, OkCupid, Engage, eHarmony, or Meetic. Of these, eHarmony is forecasting $200 Million in 2007 revenues, and is most likely on its way to go public at a high valuation. It may be too expensive for Gannett. The company is funded by top Silicon Valley venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital.

OkCupid is the fastest growing free, online dating site in the United States with more than 2 million monthly unique users and 500,000 active users. The dating site recently completed a $6 million in Series A funding from a group of angel investors. Engage has closed a $5 million venture funding led by The Founders Fund and Revolution Ventures. Meetic was listed on the European stock exchange, Euronext, in 2005.

In the Business and Finance space the Company could consider acquiring blogs like Seeking Alpha, PhatInvestor, etc. Sites like TheStreet.com are also interesting acquisition targets. TheStreet.com (Nasdaq: TSCM) is a public company with a 2006 revenue level of ~$50 Million, and a market cap of about $350 Million. As Murdoch’s acquisition of Dow Jones clearly indicates, Business and Finance is believed to be a very promising category for advertising revenues, and Jim Cramer’s site could be an interesting asset for Gannett to acquire to gain foothold in the area, and syndicate it throughout the Gannet portfolio of newspaper sites.

In the Online Sports category the Company could consider acquiring sites like BallHype, PicksPal, Yardbarker, etc. BallHype is a sports news and social networking site that allows users to post sports related stories and other users to vote / rate those stories up or down, and add comments. PicksPal is a social networking site and it has created a virtual gathering place for sports fans to prove who really knows their American sports.

Yardbarker is a social news site where users submit links to the best sports content from around the web. Yardbarker, a social sports news and opinion web site has raised seed funding from an impressive lineup of angel investors, which included Russell Siegelman, Ron Conway, Steve Blank, Ronnie Lott and Harris Barton. Early-stage venture capital firm Labrador Ventures also participated.

Today, 51.7% of Internet users are women and they are growing. The Company already operates local sites dedicated to Moms called IndyMoms.com (Indianapolis), Cincymoms.com (Cincinatti), etc. which align with their local newspaper presence in various cities. It’s an interesting strategy, and the smartest way to grow this franchise would be to acquire other “Mom” focused properties. They could also put together a vertical blog ad network focused on Moms with Adify.

In the Online Jobs space the Company already owns CareerBuilder but then the site lacks good quality community features and Gannett could consider acquiring a career related site with very good community features to fill the gap in its portfolio. Sites like LinkedIn, Xing, etc. are good targets for acquisition by Gannett to gradt onto CareerBuilder. Sequoia Capital, Greylock, the European Founders Fund, and Bessemer Venture Partners have funded LinkedIn. Xing is traded on the Frankfurt & Xetra stock exchanges.

(To Be Continued)

[Part 1]
[Part 2]
[Part 3]

This segment is part 4 in the series : Web 3.0 & Gannett
1 2 3 4 5

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