HMT provided fully integrated corporate finance, transaction support and tax advisory services to brightsolid Limited on its £25m acquisition of Friends Reunited Group from ITV plc.
brightsolid is a fast growing online innovation business owned by DC Thomson, one of the largest privately owned media and publishing groups in the country. A key part of brightsolid’s strategy is building businesses that link “people and places” on the internet.
Friends Reunited is the original social network with 20.6 million members. It was launched in 2000 to put old school friends back in touch with each other and swiftly became a British media phenomenon. Sister site Genes Reunited was launched in 2003 and is currently the UK’s largest family history website with over 9 million members worldwide and over 500 million names listed.
The acquisition of Friends Reunited Group unites two of Britain’s most exciting internet businesses in the dynamic family history sector by bringing together Genes Reunited, findmypast.com (which operate the official 1901 and 1911 Census websites, respectively, in association with The National Archives),scotlandspeople.gov.uk and ancestorsonboard.com.
Chris van der Kuyl, CEO brightsolid, said:
“We see the acquisition of Friends Reunited Group as an exciting opportunity to provide new focus for and build on the iconic status of the Friends Reunited brands. Between them these brands attract over 3 million unique users per month. This also marks another step forward in the future strategy of brightsolid, widening its offering to the consumer marketplace.”
On HMT’s role, Chris added:
“We are delighted with the quality of advice provided by HMT during all aspects of the transaction process including bid support, financial due diligence and final negotiations with ITV. This was a competitive and high profile transaction in which tactics and teamwork were crucial; HMT provided the support we needed when we needed it.”