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Permira Funds to invest USD350m in WeddingWire

Private equity firm Permira is to invest USD350 million in WeddingWire, an online marketplace connecting engaged couples with wedding professionals, becoming the Company’s majority shareholder.

As part of the transaction, WeddingWire’s management team and existing investor Spectrum Equity will maintain a significant minority ownership in the Company. The new investment will support WeddingWire as it continues to expand in the US and internationally, launch new innovations and leverage the industry’s ongoing shift to online advertising.
 
Founded in 2007, WeddingWire’s marketplace is a leader in the USD200-plus billion global wedding industry, connecting engaged couples with local wedding professionals and providing a suite of tools that simplify the wedding planning process. WeddingWire’s platform helps hundreds of thousands of event businesses, from venues and photographers to caterers and DJs, connect and book more clients. The Company’s portfolio of sites serves consumers and businesses in 15 countries across North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe, and globally helps 13 million couples each month find top vendors in their area by offering a comprehensive directory of wedding professionals, with over four million consumer reviews, detailed pricing and availability information as well as the industry’s first integrated payments platform, enabling fast and frictionless marketplace transactions.
 
“Eleven years ago, we started WeddingWire to more effectively connect engaged couples to event professionals as they plan their perfect wedding day,” says Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Today with over 950 employees in 8 offices serving 15 countries, we are well-positioned to expand our footprint to reach the 40 million weddings worldwide annually. With Permira’s proven track record in scaling global companies and backing consumer-technology businesses, they are the ideal partner to support our growth strategies. We look forward to working closely with the Permira team to be the definitive brand for weddings worldwide, while continuing to focus on innovations for our consumers and customers.”
 
“WeddingWire has become an increasingly important marketplace for both newly-engaged couples and small businesses, with strong positions in its geographies, an attractive subscription-based business model and substantial room to grow,” says Dipan Patel, a Permira Partner. “More than 40 percent of WeddingWire’s revenue now comes from international geographies – a number that is growing more than 30 percent per year. We are excited to leverage our firm’s international platform in support of Tim and the rest of the WeddingWire team.”
 
“The partnership established through this investment is one of significant impact to the global USD200 billion wedding industry,” says Ben Spero, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity and member of the Board of Directors of WeddingWire since 2012. “WeddingWire has a proven track record of scaling successfully into new global markets which no other player has achieved. Combined with the power of the Permira funds’ investment and knowledge, the Spectrum team is proud to support this partnership and build upon its 5+ year involvement with WeddingWire.”
 
This past January, WeddingWire announced the rebranding of its website in the United Kingdom, WeddingWire.co.uk, as well as the launch of its “Wedding Cost Guide,” a new resource aimed at helping couples budget and plan their weddings more effectively. Last summer, the Company also opened local India operations in Gurgaon, New Delhi, with the launch of WeddingWire.in.
 
The transaction is expected to close by early in the third quarter of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory review.
 
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen LLP acted as legal advisor to the Permira funds. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati acted as legal advisor to WeddingWire.
 

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