British site Where Are You Now? (WAYN), a social network for meeting fellow travelers, is rumored to be in negotiations with AOL to be bought for $200 million. That would make it one of the biggest Web 2.0 acquisitions of a UK startup after CBS’s $280 million purchase of Last.fm.
TechCrunch UK has the scoop:
Social travel site WAYN is allegedly in talks with AOL over a possible $200m sale to the consumer portal giant. A spokesperson for the UK startup denied that any sale talks are taking place. However, I have tonight spoken to three well-placed sources who have all independently quoted the $200m figure to me, and named AOL as the prospective buyer.
. . . the fact that no deal has been announced yet is put down by my sources to delicate negotiations around a generous earn-out clause proposed by the founders. And the signs are that this is proving to be a sticking point in negotiations. The site is only on course to bring in $4.5m of revenues this year, a figure which contrasts markedly with the exit price.
WAYN raised $11 million in 2006 from DFJ Esprit and a gaggle of British entrpreneurs, including Lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman. ComScore, which only recently started tracking the site, counts 3.6 million unique visitors in November worldwide. The company says it has 9 million registered users.
The purported $200 million price tag seems steep, at more than 40 times revenues. But the site also makes money through affiliate deals with travel sites like Kayak. Travel sites are all about lead generation.