NBC Universal’s purchase of iVillage highlighted both the increased interest in media acquisitions and the dwindling number of properties worth buying as sources of revenue and traffic growth. Among the most coveted: those with a lock on niche audiences that can command advertising premiums. Cnet comes up — as it does in just about every conversation I have with those involved in online acquisitions, usually with regret that they can’t figure out a way to make it work. Cnet’s market cap is nearly $2 billion; Needham & Company analyst Mark May told the Times a likely sales price would be $2.5-3 billion. (Chairman and CEO Shelby Bonnie has said the company isn’t interested in being bought but it is a public company so would have to consider any serious offer.)
– The likely acquisition prospects listed in the story include WebMD, Bankrate.com, Hollywood Media, TheKnot.com, PlanetOut.com (which has been making its own acquisitions), Infospace, Technorati, Feedster.com, numerous gaming, mobile and photo sites.
– The Times’ Matt Richtel interviewed a mix of people on the subject; Rafat told him there were few companies in the several hundred-million-dollar range — Infospace is his candidate — few proven sites left for tens of millions.
– Sharon Wienbar, a managing director with BA Venture Partners, said a site has to have at least 5 million uniques a month to be considered a major takeover candidate.