AOL and Hachette Filipacchi among possible bidders for iVillage
NEW YORK – America Online, NBC Universal, Hearst and Hachette Filipacchi are among the possible bidders for women's online media firm iVillage.com, which is up for sale with an expected price tag of between of around $350m (£201.8m).
IVillage has reportedly asked for a second round of bids from potential bidders, but according to sources quoted by Reuters offers could come in lower than expected.
Speculation last year suggested a price tag of $700m, in line with the buzz surrounding online communities as seen by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation snapping up MySpace.com for $580m and video game network IGN Entertainment for $650m.
IVillage is not expected to attract any bids as high as those, but it is still seen as a valuable online asset, attracting visits from more than 10% of women in the US with its mix of health, parenting and fashion content.
The site is one of the dotcom survivors. Having managed to float and later be delisted from the Nasdaq, it has managed to grow. It moved out of loss in late 2001 and also owns Women.com, the Business Women's Network, Lamaze Publishing, the Newborn Channel, iVillage Solutions and Astrology.com operations. It sold its UK operation to its joint venture partner Tesco in March 2003, but required it last April.
NBC Universal and Time Warner's AOL already have small stakes in the firm. While AOL is reported to already to have decided to bid NBC is understood to still be mulling the idea.
Hachette, which publishes Elle and Woman's Day in US, is also likely to bid. The online property with its focus on women would tie up nicely with its women's magazine business. Vogue publisher Hearst is another possible bidder -- it also owns 25% of the firm.
Another possible bidder is Yahoo!, which has online distribution agreements with iVillage.
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