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An IPO For Glam Media?

Posted on Thursday, Jul 7th 2011

A few years ago, I covered the women-focused distributed media network, Glam Media, and asked if Glam could do more than just create a seat for itself at the fashion table. Recently, the company has been rumored to be readying their IPO plans, suggesting that they are truly “A Vertical Ad Network Powerhouse.”

Glam Media’s Financials
The company was founded in 2003 by Samir Arora, Raj Narayan, Fernando Ruarte, and Dianna Mullins. The goal was to dominate the market for online advertising for women with Glam.com. Today, they have diversified into the male-focused vertical through Brash and have also launched a brand targeted ad serving platform, Glam Adapt. The company has more than 240 million unique visitors worldwide accessing its properties last year. Within the U.S. alone, they reported more than 90 million unique visitors. Glam Media was rated as the sixth-largest U.S. Web Properties and is among the Top 10 AdWeek Display Ad Publishers.

Glam Media earns revenue through advertisements. Their advertisement revenue sharing model allows independent writers to retain an estimated half of the ad revenue generated by their articles, while Glam takes in the remaining half. According to market estimates, Glam generated $75 million in revenue last year and is reported to have crossed $100 million in revenue this year. While their profitability figures are not known, they had turned in profits in 2009 and were looking at margins of about 5% in 2010. In the long run, they plan to operate at margins of 20% to 30%.

The company has received funding of more than $175 million through investors which include Information Capital, Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Walden Venture Capital, DAG Ventures, Hercules Technology, Growth Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, GLG Partners, Aeris Capital, and Hubert Burda Media. Their latest round of funding of $50 million was raised in February 2010, and this round pegged the company’s valuation at over $750 million.

Glam Media’s Expanding Offering
Glam Media is looking to expand into other verticals. Recently, they announced the release of a health-focused content channel, Bliss. Rather than medical information, Bliss.com will focus on health from a wellness perspective through content on alternative healing, green living, exercise, and other fitness-based topics. Last month, they also expanded into the food vertical through the $100,000 purchase of Foodie.com. Analysts expect Foodie.com to be focused on high-quality content including articles, photography, and video.

Glam Media’s International Expansion
Glam is also expanding their international footprint. Last quarter, they acquired BBS Media, a Canada-based advertising media company, to expand their presence in the Canadian market. They also recently launched in South Korea and now have operations in Germany, Japan, France, and the UK. Their international sites will also focus on women’s entertainment, style, and fashion through stories, photos, videos, and curated content across lifestyle categories. The company is said to be evaluating other international markets, with China, Russia, India, Brazil, Italy, and Spain on their radar.

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100 THOUSAND for foodie.com. Not 100 million…..

dimd Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 8:54 AM PT