IAC’s Match Agrees To Buy People Media For $80 Million

Match People Media Merger

Broad-based online dating site Match.com is buying into the targeted 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 subs to the IAC (NSDQ: IACI) unit, including BlackPeopleMeet.com, LDSPlanet.com, SingleParentMeet.com, SeniorPeopleMeet.com.

People Media earned $11.6 million in 2008 before depreciation and amortization; by comparison, Match.com reported $9.9 million in operating income before amortization during Q109. (Update: For a better comparison, Match reported $91 million in operating income before amortization in 2008.) 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 presence: Match.com powers MSN online dating in the U.S> and other countries; People Media does the same for AOL (NYSE: TWX) Personals communities.

You really can’t get more targeted than some of the sites operated by People Media — BlackChristianPeoplemeet.com, for instance. 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 investment in European service Meetic.

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. More than enough should he try to follow through on that interest in Yahoo Personals valued at about $500 million.


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