Catalyst to exit WeddingWire investment
Significant Investment Will Enhance International Growth Strategy and Continued Product Leadership
Chevy Chase, MD – WeddingWire, Inc. (“WeddingWire” or “the Company”), a leading global online marketplace connecting engaged couples with wedding professionals, and Permira, the global private equity firm, today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby a company backed by the Permira funds will invest $350 million in WeddingWire, becoming the Company’s majority shareholder. As part of the transaction, WeddingWire’s management team and existing investor Spectrum Equity will maintain a significant minority ownership in the Company. The new investment will support WeddingWire as it continues to expand in the U.S. and internationally, launch new innovations and leverage the industry’s ongoing shift to online advertising.
Founded in 2007, WeddingWire’s marketplace is a leader in the $200+ billion global wedding industry, connecting engaged couples with local wedding professionals and providing a suite of tools that simplify the wedding planning process. WeddingWire’s platform helps hundreds of thousands of event businesses, from venues and photographers to caterers and DJs, connect and book more clients. The Company’s portfolio of sites serves consumers and businesses in 15 countries across North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and globally helps 13 million couples each month find top vendors in their area by offering a comprehensive directory of wedding professionals, with over four million consumer reviews, detailed pricing and availability information as well as the industry’s first integrated payments platform, enabling fast and frictionless marketplace transactions.
“Eleven years ago, we started WeddingWire to more effectively connect engaged couples to event professionals as they plan their perfect wedding day,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Today with over 950 employees in 8 offices serving 15 countries, we are well-positioned to expand our footprint to reach the 40 million weddings worldwide annually. With Permira’s proven track record in scaling global companies and backing consumer-technology businesses, they are the ideal partner to support our growth strategies. We look forward to working closely with the Permira team to be the definitive brand for weddings worldwide, while continuing to focus on innovations for our consumers and customers.”
“WeddingWire has become an increasingly important marketplace for both newly-engaged couples and small businesses, with strong positions in its geographies, an attractive subscription-based business model and substantial room to grow,” said Dipan Patel, a Permira Partner. “More than 40 percent of WeddingWire’s revenue now comes from international geographies – a number that is growing more than 30 percent per year. We are excited to leverage our firm’s international platform in support of Tim and the rest of the WeddingWire team.”
“The partnership established through this investment is one of significant impact to the global $200 billion wedding industry,” said Ben Spero, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity and member of the Board of Directors of WeddingWire since 2012. “WeddingWire has a proven track record of scaling successfully into new global markets which no other player has achieved. Combined with the power of the Permira funds’ investment and knowledge, the Spectrum team is proud to support this partnership and build upon its 5+ year involvement with WeddingWire.”
This past January, WeddingWire announced the rebranding of its website in the United Kingdom, WeddingWire.co.uk, as well as the launch of its “Wedding Cost Guide,” a new resource aimed at helping couples budget and plan their weddings more effectively. Last summer, the Company also opened local India operations in Gurgaon, New Delhi, with the launch of WeddingWire.in.
The transaction is expected to close by early in the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen LLP acted as legal advisor to the Permira funds. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati acted as legal advisor to WeddingWire.
Permira is a global investment firm. Founded in 1985, the firm advises funds with a total committed capital of approximately €32bn (US$37.7bn) and makes long-term investments in companies with the objective of transforming their performance and driving sustainable growth. The Permira funds have made over 200 private equity investments in five key sectors: Consumer, Technology, Industrials, Healthcare and Financial Services. Permira employs over 250 people in 14 offices across Europe, North America and Asia.
The Permira funds have a long track record of successfully investing in technology companies around the world, and have invested over €2.4bn (US$2.8bn), including LP co-investments, in Internet and Digital Media across 6 companies to date. In addition to WeddingWire, these companies include Ancestry.com, eDreams ODIGEO, LegalZoom.com, Allegro, and Schustermann & Borenstein.
About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire, Inc. is a leading global online marketplace, connecting consumers with local wedding professionals and a suite of comprehensive tools that make wedding planning easier. Operating within a $200 billion industry, WeddingWire helps 13 million couples every month find the right team of wedding professionals to personalize and pull off their special day. Consumers around the world are able to read more than 4 million vendor reviews and search, compare and book from a directory of over 400,000 vendors. Founded in 2007, the WeddingWire portfolio serves couples and wedding professionals across 15 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. The company has more than 950 employees and is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., with international headquarters in Barcelona, Spain.
About Spectrum Equity
Spectrum Equity is a leading growth equity firm providing capital and strategic support to innovative companies in the information economy. For 25 years, the firm has partnered with proven entrepreneurs and management teams to build long-term value in market-leading software, information services and Internet companies. Representative investments include Ancestry, Bats Global Markets, GoodRx, Grubhub, Lynda.com, SurveyMonkey, Teachers Pay Teachers and Verafin. For more information, visit www.spectrumequity.com.