Glam Media Seeks To Expand, Raises More Financing

by , Feb 26, 2008, 7:16 AM
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Seeking expansion into new content categories and global markets, fashion and shopping e-publisher Glam Media has raised another $84.6 million in financing led by German publishing behemoth Hubert Burda Media.

Reports that Glam was seeking $200 million in this latest round were false, according to Samir Arora, the company's chairman and chief executive.

"Those numbers floating around in the press were never approved by the Glam board," said Arora. "$85 million is even more than we were looking for."

The infusion--which adds to $30 million Glam has already received from investors--will also be used to fund the upstart's premium display ad platform, Glam Evolution, which offers placement of premium ad inventory on the Glam-distributed media network of some 450 sites, including CBS Entertainment-owned Web properties for "Entertainment Tonight," "The Insider" and the "Rachael Ray Show."

Europe's largest publisher of woman's magazines, Hubert Burda was the lead investor in a consortium representing a total $64.6 million, and including GLG Partners, Accel Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Walden Ventures, among others. (Separately, Glam raised $20 million in revenue-based debt financing from Hercules Technology Growth Capital.)

The investments value Glam at approximately $500 million, one source close to the deal said on the condition of anonymity--a hefty valuation for a company that has only been around since 2005.

Glam's network now reaches 25 million U.S. users a month, according to comScore, while the company has been criticized by rivals for driving revenue by selling ads for partner Web sites, rather than for its own page views. The critics also take issue with Glam calling itself a content site, rather than an ad network.

According to Arora, Glam operates a unique business model--and a highly profitable one at that, as the company is targeting revenue of $100 million by the end of next year.

"We are a distributed media business," Arora said. 'With fragmentation increasing on the Web, our proven distributed media network model both supports our key publishers and is the optimal way to bring premium brand display advertisers to the Web."

Glam has also been successful in attracting top industry talent. Earlier this month, for example, it hired Yahoo veteran Kiumarse Zamanian as vice president of the Glam Evolution platform. Also, late last year, Glam hired Ralf Hirt, formerly DoubleClick's vice president of operations & strategic partnerships, as vice president, international, with the task of driving the media company's global expansion.

Per the deal with Hubert Burda, Christiane zu Salm, a Hubert Burda board member, will join Glam Media's board of directors in an observatory role.

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