Sunday, September 19, 2010

INET To Go Private

We may have completed, in but 3 years, the roundtrip:

Oh, what a trip it’s been.

Today's news is that Internet Brands has agreed to be acquired by international private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.

We became a public company three years ago, just as the global financial markets began to falter—and ultimately crater. We’ve prospered, despite the most difficult economic, financial, and advertising market backdrop in about 85 years.

We take pride in our NASDAQ performance and shareholder returns. At the $13.35 offer price, our stock appreciated 67% from our IPO. That compares to an overall NASDAQ decline during the same period of roughly -10%. Our management team is proud of our performance and I am proud of them. We are blessed with a great team.

So, why go private again? Because we believe this would be a good deal for our shareholders. Because we would continue to build one of the finest New Media companies in the world and become even more focused on long-term growth. Because H&F would be a great partner. H&F has impressed us with their knowledge of New Media, and with their professionalism, focus, and intensity. H&F Managing Director Andy Ballard has been an absolute pleasure.

Without a doubt, we would miss many of the friends we have made along the way. INET will miss the brilliant, 11-year Chairmanship of Howard Morgan. (While we will lose a great Chairman, we retain a great friend.) We will miss the support and inspiration from all of our friends at Idealab, from Bill Gross, and from our terrific Board of Directors. We will miss some of the loyal shareholder relationships we have developed.

As we prepare to embark on the next leg of our journey, we express deep gratitude for those who have been with us.


* All of this assumes the transaction is approved by our shareholders and clears regulatory processes. See INET press release for more detail.