In one of the largest private equity financings for an Internet company in recent history, Web publisher GeoSign , located outside of Toronto, has raised US$ 160 million from American Capital. The money will be used primarily for acquisitions, and the founders are taking some money off the table. RBC Capital Markets acted as the private placement agent for the deal.
GeoSign plans to making three to five “sizeable” business acquisitions in the near future, while also continuing to build out their own properties. Their portfolio of sites covers over 20 verticals and reach more than 35 million unique visitors per month.
Geosign was started in 2000 when founder and CEO Tim Nye, frustrated with the results while searching for new home plans, started homeplaninfo.com to capitalize on an underserved niche. Since then Geosign has been building out their publishing network by acquiring/investing in properties and monetizing them through advertising.
The company has 230 employees, with over 100 of them generating content for the sites in the publishing department. Past investments from Geosign include local search engine TrueLocal, mobile search engine go2, outdoors enthusiast site Nomadik, DietNation, ThinkFashion, CosmeticSurguryInsider, and AllSafeTravels. They are also building basic social networks around these sites – see restaurantica for an example.