Case Study: Ziff Davis

Explore this investment 11.09.12

Fast Facts

  • New Management Team
  • Consolidating
  • Acquisitions
  • Product Innovation
  • Advised on Sale

When we purchased Ziff Davis in June 2010 with online media executive Vivek Shah, the company was owned by the former bond holders of a previously bankrupt buyout and consisted of consumer electronics websites led by PCMag.com. Shah expanded the business with the serial purchase of logicbuy.com, geek.com, computershopper.com, toolbox.com, and the enterprise technology lead generation business Focus Research.

“The financial and strategic support of Great Hill Partners was critical to our success, and they proved to be tremendous and trusted partners at every step,” said Shah. “I feel genuinely privileged to have worked with such an outstanding group of investment professionals.”

Shah and his team further revitalized the company through the launch of a number of innovative new products, most significantly the BuyerBase™ ad targeting platform. BuyerBase collects information from more than 100 technology sites and comingles the data with proprietary information to enable highly targeted advertising to 40 million U.S. consumers deep in the consumer electronics purchase funnel.

Today, Ziff Davis is a leading digital media company reaching more than 50 million inmarket buyers every month. Ziff Davis sites feature trusted reviews of the newest and hottest tech products, news, commentary, tech deals, and much more. Ziff Davis B2B is a leading provider of content and leads for tech vendors.

Shah and Great Hill’s efforts were rewarded in 2012 with the sale of Ziff Davis to j2 Global, Inc., a provider of business cloud services, for $175 million. The purchase price represented approximately 3.9x estimated 2013 revenue and 3.2x the aggregate purchase price of the combined properties.

“Vivek Shah is an unusual combination of strategic vision and management talent,” commented Chris Gaffney, managing partner at Great Hill Partners. “He designed the plan, built an amazing team, and executed flawlessly in building the company from a concept and a number of unconnected pieces into the attractive operating platform it is today. We are proud to have been a part of the company’s revitalization.”