Hearst has finally made a move in the online M&A market, after its venture arm has been investing heavily in digital media startups (Sling Media, Brightcove and others): it has bought out teen and youth focused social networking company eCrush. Terms were not disclosed, but Hearst said the company had an EBITDA of $1.4 million in 2006. The Chicago-based company runs flagship eCrush.com (“a way for users to find out anonymously if someone they like feels the same about them”), eSpin, HighSchoolStyleBoard, among others. eCrush was launched in 1999, and positions itself as an “advertiser-friendly, PG-13 environment”…Hearst will use the expertise across its stable of teen magazine and standalone sites.
Also, later this month Hearst will debut MyPromShopper.com, a prom-planning destination site with elements of social networking built in. In February, Hearst will relaunch its three teen magazines