With more content providers gravitating toward mobile platforms-tablets and smartphones-media companies may see an opportunity to grow by doing deals. One strategic acquirer that has taken advantage of this trend is Livingly Media Inc. Until early September, it had been doing business as Zimbio Inc., known for its online entertainment news hub of the same name.
The San Carlos, Calif. company, which also owns fashion website StyleBistro.com, recently extended its reach into the women's lifestyle sector by purchasing an online magazine focused on home decorating, picking up Lonny LLC for an undisclosed price in July. Mergers & Acquisitions caught up with Livingly Media chief executive Tony Mamone to discuss the company's growing portfolio and what it will be looking for in targets.
What does the recent acquisition of Lonny say about the company's deal strategy?
It's the first time we completed an acquisition. This will not be the last time we acquire a company either, so we are interested in buying assets that help us move more quickly along our strategic path. We were specifically looking at the shelter category - magazine lingo for home décor. Originally, we wanted to build a site from scratch, but decided to look at companies that would make the process easier.
What was challenging about your first deal?
We had two cultures coming together. Lonny was looking for a partner to improve their technology and we thought we could add that. But the more we looked at Lonny, the more we realized that the folks reading it were deeply engaged and spending, on average, about 13 minutes on the site. Half of the users were spending over 20 minutes, which is an awesome stat. The editorial quality was resonating with the audience. We've found the right combination where they produce amazing content, and we have the technology prowess to distribute it to a wider audience.
Will we see more deals like this in the future?
Our strategy is to ultimately own five or seven titles. We have three now: Zimbio, StyleBistro and Lonnny. They will most likely be in the women's lifestyle and entertainment categories. You will definitely see us enter new categories, but we like to make sure our technology is in place before we shift towards the next vertical.
In what ways does Livingly need to improve?
A big challenge is meeting the demands of a growing business. We now reach over 30 million readers a month across three titles. The next phase in our growth is going to be operationally scaling the organization, and going from a 30-to-40 person company, to a 100-person company.