El Segundo Web holding company Internet Brands, which began as CarsDirect.com, has struck a deal to be acquired by New York private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for an estimated $1.1 billion.
It’s the second billion-dollar exit for the L.A. tech scene in a week, hot on the heels of Apple’s confirmation last week that it plans to buy Santa Monica’s Beats Electronics for $3 billion.
The deal for Internet Brands was struck with Hellman & Friedman and JMI Equity, the private equity firms that paid $640 million for the consumer website aggregator four years ago.
Internet Brands owns websites in four separate categories: automotive, health, legal and home and travel.
Borne out of Pasadena’s Idealab incubator in 1998 as CarsDirect.com, Internet Brands slowly began acquiring other branded websites used by online consumers. Other major properties include Lawyers.com, ApartmentRatings.com and WikiTravel.
The media company’s sites attract more than 100 million visitors a month. It makes the majority of its revenue from advertising, though it also sells software to businesses. In January, Internet Brands launched a cloud-based version of its Vbulletin forum and community publishing platform.
Harold Chen, co-head of KKR’s technology investment team, said in a statement that Internet Brands’ evolution made it an attractive investment opportunity.
“Internet Brands is at an exciting inflection point of growth as the company transitions from a portfolio of Web assets to a vertically integrated provider of media and client software solutions,” Chen said.
The companies announced the deal in a Tuesday press release, but did not disclose a purchase price, which was reported by the New York Times.
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