IAC/Match.com is buying into the niche groups subscription dating business with the acquisition of People Media from private equity firm American Capital Ltd. and various investors for $80 million in cash. The deal will add 27 dating sites with a combined 255,000 paying subcribers to the IAC (NSDQ: IACI) portfolio, including BlackPeopleMeet.com, LDSPlanet.com (Latter Day Saints dating), SingleParentMeet.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com.
People Media earned $11.6 million in 2008 before depreciation and amortization, while Match.com reported $9.9 million in operating income before amortization. Fourteen-year-old Match.com had some 5.8 million unique users in May, compared with nearly 4 million for People Media’s combined sites, according to comScore Media Metrix. Both have a portal deals in place: Match.com powers MSN & AOL Personals online dating in the U.S and other countries; People Media has a similar deal with AOL Personals niche dating communities.
Match.com CEO Greg Blatt explains in the announcement that the combined company will continue to look for ways to play off the interest some people have in dating by demographics. Despite the disparities in the two businesses, Blatt expects to share product development and online marketing expertise and to market “a broader array of services” to the combined customer base. On area that isn’t mentioned: international expansion, which would seem likely given Match.com’s presence across in 24 countries and its overseas investment in European service Meetic.
The IAC has plenty of cash left: IAC Chairman and CEO Barry Diller has said he’s willing to spend on the right properties. The $80 million cash payment for People Media barely makes a dent in the nearly $2 billion on hand. That gives them more than enough reserves if they should decide to follow through on the Yahoo Personals acquisition that has been valued at about $500 million. Read the IAC formal press release: IAC’s Match.com to Acquire People Media from American Capital.