Online publisher and ad network Glam Media is buying seminal social networking platform Ning in a deal reportedly valued at $150 million. The acquisition will enable Glam to offer its network of publishers a selection of new social tools, including chat and photo uploading areas for reader interaction.
Ning is a white-label platform for creating social websites that encourage involvement. It was founded by Marc Andreesen and Gina Bianchini in 2004, and at its height was valued at a $750 million that now seems like a fantasy. It now hosts over 100,000 social networks and is run by CEO Jason Rosenthal, who will join Glam Media as executive vice president Social Media and general manager of Ning as it becomes a new division of Glam Media. Andreesen, meanwhile, will be joining Glam’s board of directors, in addition to his responsibilities at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and directorships the Internet pioneer and entrepreneur already holds with Facebook, eBay and several other companies.
“Combining Ning’s social technology, user base, and 100,000+ networks will immediately boost Glam’s reach to 240 million users and 3.1 billion page views, add recurring subscription revenue to Glam’s business model, and most importantly, set up the combined company to be the leading social media content company on the web,” Andreesen blogged.
Glam’s content reaches 200 million users and 2.6 billion page views across 2,500 publishers, with advertising participation by 1,000 premium brands, according to Samir Arora, Chairman and CEO of Glam Media. The company is reported to have $100 million in annual revenue and is persistently rumored to be considering an IPO.
“By combining Glam’s vision for brands with Ning’s leading position in creating custom social experiences, the two companies will change the way brands intersect with social,” Rosenthal wrote on the company’s blog. “Glam + Ning will bring the context and relevancy that brands are looking for in the way they interact with audiences online.”
Glam Media’s investors include Information Capital, Accel, DFJ, Walden Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, GLG, and Aeris. Glam Media has headquarters in Silicon Valley, New York, and London, with offices in Brisbane in California, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Tokyo, Pune, Mumbai and Paris.
Jason Rosenthal’s blog post – http://tinyurl.com/3wb3p3e
Marc Andreesen’s blog post – http://tinyurl.com/3kdwdnj
WSJ’s Venture Capital Dispatch – http://tinyurl.com/3kbpfhx
Business Week – http://tinyurl.com/3f5xk4c