Buyer: Glam Media
Date: September 2011
Price: Estimated at $150-$200 million in stock
Glam Media, a lifestyle and fashion blog network, acquired Ning, a platform for building social media communities.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports put the price in the $150 million to $200 million range and mostly in stock.
Ning was founded in 2004 by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini as a platform for creating community-based sites centered around an interest or brand.
The company went through some significant shakeups in the last couple years. In April 2010, Ning made news by shuttering its free service, cutting a chunk of its staff and rolling out tiered subscription models: Mini ($2.95/month), Plus ($24.95/month) and Pro ($59.95/month).
Shortly before the switch from free to paid, Ning replaced co-founder and CEO Bianchini with Jason Rosenthal, then COO.
According to the company, the paid model worked out. In 2011, Ning went from 17,000 paying customers to 100,000, with revenues growing 500 percent.
In all, the Ning network had 100 million registered user profiles and pulled 60 million monthly uniques at the time of the deal.
Glam planned to incorporate Ning as a new business unit within the company with Rosenthal joining the executive team as executive vice president social media and general manager of Ning.
Glam has always pursued a contextual advertising strategy and with the rise of social media and the marketing opportunities it presents, the company sees an opportunity to advance its social marketing services. “The Ning platform and it Network Creators, combined with the power of Glam’s advertising solutions, will ignite the delivery of our Brands+Social integrated programs at significant scale,” said Fernando Ruarte, Glam’s CTO and EVP platform and products, in a statement.
Despite an abundance of social media and community platforms, Glam still saw value in the Ning.