Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Enters Agreement with WeddingWire.com
MSLO expanded its weddings franchise recently by signing an agreement with, and taking a 40% stake in, top online wedding planning company WeddingWire.com.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. MSO recently announced a series of transactions with WeddingWire (www.weddingwire.com), a localized wedding platform that combines an online marketplace with planning tools and a social community. The deal is part of MSLO’s strategy to accelerate its digital footprint and expand its Weddings franchise online and in print. It includes the acquisition of approximately 40 percent of the equity in WeddingWire and a commercial agreement related to software and content licensing and media sales.
WeddingWire was created by a team of entrepreneurs, including two founding members of Blackboard Inc., to provide engaged couples with comprehensive vendor search and easy-to-use online planning and community tools. The platform’s SmartMatch(TM) technology allows brides and grooms to find, research, and receive quick price quotes from vendors in their area, saving couples time, energy and money. WeddingWire offers a range of additional applications, including tools for creating a wedding website, selecting the perfect wedding songs, managing budgets, guest lists, and seating charts. It also features social networking and user-generated content tools to help couples make better, more informed decisions.
“Today’s couples devote a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources to creating their perfect day. The level of intensity they bring to the process presents a highly attractive opportunity for both MSLO and our Weddings franchise,” said Susan Lyne, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSLO. “With this investment, brides who rely on our content for wedding- related inspiration and ideas will be able to plan, manage and share every step of the process. The WeddingWire team has created a seamless experience for engaged couples and a great platform for marketers that will significantly strengthen our position in this space.”
As part of the investment agreement, MSLO and WeddingWire signed a commercial agreement through which WeddingWire will offer its proprietary tools on the Weddings section of marthastewart.com, allowing users ready access to a vast network of local vendors and online wedding-planning tools. MSLO may also integrate similar tools using WeddingWire’s technology across its other content verticals. WeddingWire’s main web property, www.weddingwire.com, will receive Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia content, which will include integrated links to drive traffic to marthastewart.com. In addition, WeddingWire has designated MSLO as its exclusive national advertising sales force for the duration of the agreement, and the two companies will share the advertising revenues sold on the site.
“By investing in WeddingWire, we are assembling a robust online offering with a proven toolset to enhance our digital Weddings content and complement what is already the category’s premier print magazine,” said Wenda Harris Millard, President, Media, MSLO. “We are impressed by WeddingWire’s superior online platform and see great opportunities to leverage its expertise across our Internet sites and bring similar tools and features to our other lifestyle content verticals. This is also a tremendous opportunity for our advertisers to reach couples engaged in the process of planning their wedding.”
“This is an ideal partnership that will bring real value to engaged couples and wedding vendors alike. MSLO’s commitment to excellence in the weddings category, when paired with our suite of innovative wedding planning tools, creates an unrivaled offering for engaged couples everywhere,” said Timothy Chi, Chief Executive Officer of WeddingWire. “MSLO’s breadth and reach will also greatly benefit our fast-growing community of local wedding vendors by expanding the distribution network that WeddingWire currently provides.”
MSLO led this Series A investment round, which includes existing WeddingWire investors. The funding from the round will be used to develop new technologies and increase reach nationwide. As part of MSLO’s investment, Ms. Millard and MSLO CIO Mike Plonski will join WeddingWire’s board of directors.
About Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. MSO is a diversified media and merchandising company, inspiring and engaging consumers with unique content and distinctive products. The Publishing segment encompasses four magazines, including the company’s flagship publication, Martha Stewart Living, periodic special issues and books.
About WeddingWire, Inc.
WeddingWire is the only online wedding planning resource designed to empower both engaged couples and wedding vendors. WeddingWire enables engaged couples to search, compare and book over 30,000 wedding vendors nationwide. WeddingWire also offers an online community and a suite of cutting-edge planning tools, including wedding websites, all at no charge.
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