Seattle’s oldest social-media network, Classmates.com, was sold Wednesday to Bellevue-based Intelius for $30 million, a big drop from the $100 million price tag Classmates carried when it last traded hands in 2004.
Seattle’s oldest social-media network, Classmates.com, was sold Wednesday to Bellevue-based Intelius Holdings for $30 million, a big drop from the $100 million price tag Classmates carried when it last traded hands in 2004.
United Online, which owns several Internet companies including Juno and NetZero, had owned Classmates for 11 years.
Intelius, which was recently acquired by private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, conducts online background checks.
Classmates and Intelius will operate as separate companies and keep their own offices, H.I.G. said in a news release. At the same time, it said, “The partnership of Classmates’ one-of-a-kind social network with Intelius’ proprietary people search technology platform will provide users of both services the ability to connect unlike anywhere else on the web.”
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The company is not planning any layoffs, and expects to hire for both Intelius and Classmates
Classmates began as a way for people to browse digital yearbooks and reconnect with friends from high school, a brand-new avenue for staying in touch when it was introduced in 1995. But the once-mighty Classmates has become an afterthought for many as giant social-media networks such as Facebook and Instagram continue to grow.
United reported that revenues from its social-media segment, which includes Classmates and the international brands of the social-media network, dropped 11 percent to $18.85 million for this year’s second quarter. United attributed much of the decrease to international exchange rates.
Intelius Holdings did not acquire the international branches of Classmates.
Classmates has had trouble in the last several years attracting paid subscribers to its site. It rebranded as nostalgia website Memory Lane to try to combat the problem in 2011, though the MemoryLane.com website has since been shuttered.
But United CEO Francis Lobo pointed to Classmates’ growing paid subscriber base, which the company has said grown in the last two quarters — the first quarterly increases since 2010.
“Classmates was not as much of a strategic fit for this future, so a sale made sense. This deal helps us fuel more aggressive growth in existing businesses, invest in new products, and pursue M&A opportunities in key growth areas …” Lobo said in an email Wednesday.
Classmates moved in April from its Interbay location to an office in downtown Seattle.