Local.com Picks Up PremierGuide

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Yesterday, Hearst Corp. sold its stake in Local.com, but it looks like that didn’t hurt the website much – it has now acquired PremierGuide, “the largest and fastest-growing provider of private-label local search solutions to newspaper publishers, TV and radio stations, and city portal operators.”

For the record, Hearst only had a 22 percent stake in Local.com, so it’s not like the search company is now wandering about without an owner.  And based on the self-provided corporate description of PremierGuide, it seems that it’s a better match for Local.com than Hearst ever was.

Heath Clarke, Local.com’s chairman and CEO, might agree.  “PremierGuide has built up a large publisher network with a product that serves a complementary segment of the regional media market to our LocalConnect platform,” he stated in a press release.  “Excluding amortization expenses, this acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive and effectively double our organic traffic – an important part of our growth and margin strategy.”

The acquisition won’t make a huge dent in Local.com’s current finances – PremierGuide went for about $2 million, and Local.com’s market cap is just shy of $78 million.  That’s not to say PremierGuide was a steal – strangely, PremierGuide.com is the ninth result in a Google search for “PremierGuide” – but the price seems reasonable.

Also, for those of you who like to track personnel transfers, “Malcolm Lewis, PremierGuide’s CEO, will become Local.com’s vice president, private label,” according to the release.

UPDATE: As reported by Barron’s Online, "A previous version of this story incorrectly reported that Hearst had [sold] its entire stake, a conclusion I reached based on a filing on Form 4 which showed that Hearst held zero shares; apparently the zero referred only to the shares remaining in the 250,000 block of shares sold on July 12.  I apologize for the error."

Local.com Picks Up PremierGuide
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