Meetic is the number one dating site in Europe, publicly traded with revenues close to $200 million and a market cap of $500 million. Marc Simoncini, the Founder and CEO, had put the company up for sale a few months ago with a price tag above $670 million. One of France’s top super angels, he recently founded a venture capital firm, Jaina Capital, with $130 million of his own money, and intended to focus on that new endeavour.
However, he hasn’t been able to find a buyer, spinning it to say that the site was too big for French and even European acquirers. So he’s back to focusing on the company, with a 3 year plan to double revenues.
Our take: it’s true that for a site that big, it’s mostly an American acquirer who could buy it. But the European market is very fragmented, and even though Meetic is the biggest, it’s still not as big as, say, Match.com in the US, and an American company would presumably only splash that kind of money on a company with a really strong leadership position.
The likeliest acquirer is Barry Diller’s IAC, which owns Match.com, and already owns 27% of Meetic, but they’re not in the market. IAC and Simoncini hired the same investment bank, Messier Partners, to sell their stakes.
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