27th June 2011. The chairman and chief executive of News Limited, John Hartigan, today announced that the company has agreed to acquire Australia and New Zealand’s leading online parenting destination Kidspot and related companies.
Whilst terms for the deal were not disclosed, widespread newspaper reports put the deal at A$45m or 15*2011 EBITDA. The deal is expected to complete on July 4. Kidspot was sold through a formal sales process that included other major media organisations.
Kidspot, a portfolio of online and offline destinations purposely built to answer the needs of women and mums, was launched in 2005 by chief executive Katie May.
Since April 2006 Kidspot has been the established leader in the parenting category and has an enviable relationship with Australian mums and mums to be. It now counts over 1.3 million unique monthly visitors – double the traffic of its nearest rival.
The Kidspot portfolio includes–
- Kidspot.com.au – Australia’s leading parenting website, which includes sections dedicated to pregnancy, parenting, time saving tools, kid-friendly recipes and family health as well as a thriving online community where mums can share experiences, create and share blogs, and provide support and advice to each other.
- Birth.com.au – a vast resource of information, from qualified experts, on everything to do with pregnancy, from conception to newborn. Birth.com.au is consulted by approximately 78 per cent of expectant mums in Australia.
- Kidspot.co.nz – the New Zealand sister website, which is the country’s leading parenting website.
- The Spot – Australia’s leading directory for parents which showcases over 4,000 listings from over 1600 advertisers.
- SheSpot – a female-centric advertising portfolio which, in addition to company owned sites Kidspot and Birth, also represents Best Recipes, Easy Weddings, Weight Watchers and Mamamia, collectively reaching 2.5 million Australian women each month.
- Research Studies – Kidspot has conducted three of the largest national research studies of women and mothers of the past two decades, providing invaluable insights for marketers and agencies.
- Mums Say – a sampling and engagement program driving branded conversations online, via access to over 15,000 women.
- Baby and Kids Market – a group of offline parent-to-parent community markets held across Australian cities.
- Managed by Kidspot, they make up the largest market of its kind. With over 31,000 fans, Kidspot’s Facebook page has one of the largest, most active fan bases of any Australian media company.
Mr Hartigan said that the acquisition of Kidspot was a transformational deal for News Limited. “This deal makes us the leading player in the highly valuable online parenting market and, by combining Kidspot with the most dominant food vertical, Taste.com.au, and the most aspirational fashion vertical, Vogue.com.au, we now have an unrivalled presence in the online market for Australian women.”
Mr Hartigan paid tribute to Ms May, saying “Katie and her team have established a highly original and valuable online property, attracting and engaging with the majority of mums in every market they serve.
“Combining journalistic engagement with an award winning directory, community and unique social experiences proved the right combination and sealed Kidspot’s longstanding leadership position.
“By delivering exactly what advertisers want – an engaged, loyal and targeted audience – the Kidspot team have built a profitable, rapidly growing, digital business.
“The fact that Kidspot alone accounts for around 10 per cent of the total online FMCG advertising market – the fastest growing online display category – shows the strength and potential of the business,” Mr Hartigan said.
Ms May said “Kidspot will continue on the same path of genuine engagement and connection that we have followed the past six years, though now at a faster clip with News behind us. Our mums will still access Kidspot at the same url but can expect even more touch points, more reasons to engage and more connections.”
Ms May said that the deal would prove extremely attractive to advertisers. “Kidspot’s unique approach to premium online content and innovative social and community connections, backed by News’ massive scale and infrastructure will be a powerful force in media and further entrench Kidspot’s position as a favourite destination for brand advertising partners.”
As a result of the transaction, Katie May will report to News Magazines chief executive Sandra Hook.
Mr Hartigan said “Sandra and the News Magazines division have outstanding experience in building lifestyle brands. Kidspot fits very naturally alongside our other lifestyle brands, which include Taste, Vogue, Body+Soul and Donna Hay.”
Kidspot’s San Diego-born chief executive, Katie May, founded the company in 2005. Before Kidspot, she was the marketing director of seek.com.au, a position she held for six years. Prior to that she was a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton (now Booz & Company) and a brand marketer in the FMCG industry. Other shareholders in Kidspot included Slade Group managing director Anita Ziemer and the estate of Irvin Rockman.