Business.com has closed another chapter in its long journey from a $7.5 million million domain name bought on a hope and a prayer, selling to RH Donnelley for $350 million (WSJ reporting up to $360 million). RH Donnelley beat out Dow Jones and the New York Times during the bidding. The site had been on the block since late June and drew a lot of attention for outlandish valuations that turned out to be closer to the truth.
The buyer, RH Donnelley, is a directory and online local commercial search company. They are responsible for several white and yellow pages directories across the country. Business.com has turned into a business search directory, so the synergy between the two directory sites seems straightforward. The site also received a huge bump in traffic starting back in February according to ComScore.
The property reportedly had an EBITDA of around $15 million/year. While previous speculation framed the sale multiple of 25 times EBITDA ($400 million), it finally sold for around 23 times. The sale is about 47 times the $7.5 million 1999 purchase price. However, since the sale was in stock, the cash value reportedly shrunk to $2 million upon its later redemption.