Business and a dot com, Sales higher than reported?

Updated: Jake Winebaum is a fellow Time Inc. refugee and we have talked in the past about everything from missed opportunities at our ex-employer and of course Business.com. He joked about the jokes about his and Sky Dayton buying Business.com for $7.5 million back in Bubble 1.0. Well, if you read this morning’s Wall Street Journal then you can guess, who is having the last laugh. Many are focusing on the domain Business.com, missing why his company would fetch anywhere between $300-to-$400 million in an auction.

“It’s not simply a URL that is being sold, there’s an actual business there ” writes HipMojo. Absolutely! Anyway I dropped Jake a note this morning to chat about the ensuing brouhaha. “Unfortunately I can’t comment on what you read,” he wrote back in a quick. What I can tell you is the company doing great.”

According to the Journal, Business.com had 2007 “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $15 million” and their traffic grew “50% in the first quarter of 2007, compared with the year earlier.” The $350 million price tag would value the company at about 24 times cash flow.

However we have learned that revenues are in the $50 million plus range with profits in low teens. So from that perspective, the deal would be seven times sales. 

Business.com has built a yellow-page equivalent of resources and other related stuff that targets small to medium sized business. It has built up affiliate relationships with everyone from broadband providers to stationary sellers. This directory backend is served up on sites like Inc. magazine’s website. (We discussed working together, but frankly I couldn’t get my act together.) Business.com’s business is not exactly the kind that is going to end up in the pages of Portfolio magazine, but it is as mainstream as it can get. (Paul Kedrosky was talking about mainstream web yesterday.)

Who could be likely buyers for this company? Traditional media companies, of course. But it would be strategic fit for Yahoo, which already has a big exposure to the SMB segment. If the deal does go through, it would be a big payday for Benchmark Capital, one of the backers of the company.

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