Hearst & NBC Pump Investment into E-Commerce Firms

With the announcement that both Hearst New Media & Technology and NBC invested in Internet companies, Tuesday was a day for two companies that usually report the news to be in the news.

A subsidiary of one of the largest diversified media companies in the country, Hearst New Media & Technology announced Tuesday that it was one of four equity backers that pumped $50 million (US$) into the new home furnishings site, GoodHome.com.

Hearst was joined in the financing by the Learning Company, a division of the Mattel Corp. (NYSE: MAT), and venture capital firms Thomas H. Lee Company and Weston Presidio Capital.

A whopping sum for a first round financing, the $50 million investment is one of the highest first-round totals in any Internet venture.

Scott Sperling, the managing director of Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Company, told the E-Commerce Times that the investment opportunity was too good to pass up.

“The online home furnishings market is highly fragmented and we think that GoodHome.com offers the business model that can bring high profitability,” Sperling said. “There are other players out there, but no one can bring the content, technology and database that GoodHome.com and its partners can provide.”

Each of the backers brings something specific to the plate, said Sperling. Hearst brings its media savvy and online presence, the Learning Company its home design software, Thomas H. Lee its experience in building market shares for companies like Snapple and the Learning Company and Weston Presidio its experience in helping to build Internet companies such as DigitalChef and Medscape.

NBC Not Standing Still

Certainly one of the most aggressive media companies in building an Internet presence, NBC announced Tuesday that it agreed to invest $25 million in Telescan, Inc. (Nasdaq: TSCN), bringing its equity stake up to 14.2 percent.

NBC said it bought 1.1 million shares of the company’s stock. In January, NBC paid $8.4 million in a stock purchase. Tuesday’s agreement also calls for extending the licensing agreement for Telescan’s technology content and hosting services to five years, with NBC having an option to extend an additional five years.

Houston, Texas-based Telescan provides Internet services to financial and publishing companies. The company develops online sites serving the two industries. Its clients include American Express, Fidelity Investments, Playboy Enterprises, Time, Inc. and others.

NBC has been using Telescan’s financial content and investment analytic tools for CNBC.com, its business and personal finance portal.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Technewsworld Channels