Business for Sale: A Financial Website
Paul Rubillo was a Wall Street money manager for more than 15 years before he launched Dividend.com in January 2008. The site's main attraction is its ranking of 1,600 dividend-paying stocks on the basis of relative strength, overall yield attractiveness, dividend reliability, and earnings growth. Rubillo also writes and posts research reports and news updates, some available only to subscribers and others free to site visitors, on dividend-yielding stocks. Some of these also appear on TheStreet.com, Forbes.com, and NASDAQ.com.
Dividend.com attracts an average of more than 85,000 unique visitors a month and is consistently ranked in the top five Google searches that use dividend or dividend stock. All of the site's content was free until 2009, when Rubillo began charging $99 annually for premium content. So far, about 1,300 readers have signed up. An additional 8,000 people have signed up to receive free monthly and weekly electronic newsletters.
Rubillo believes Dividend.com would be well suited for an individual or company with experience selling stocks and bonds. He says he wants to sell his site to start a new chapter of his life by focusing on his lifelong passion -- baseball. In January, Rubillo launched a baseball news site called hotstove.com. "Goodbye, Wall Street; hello, sports," says Rubillo.
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PRICE RATIONALE: The asking price is based on the value of the site's traffic plus the projected growth of revenue from subscriptions, says Anja Bernier, president of Efficient Evolutions, a business valuation firm Rubillo hired to help price his business. Bernier also used the sale of comparable domain names, such as invest.com, which sold for $1 million in 2007, to help set the price.
THE PROS: The site has a strong network of content distribution partners and attracts a following of wealthy individuals willing to pay for content.
THE CONS: Any buyer would need to have substantial expertise in financial services and an ability to write on finance. A small independent owner would have difficulty justifying the purchase price, given the projected annual revenue.
THE BOTTOM LINE: The price tag could scare off potential individual operators. But Dividend.com has a large number of visitors with high incomes and, perhaps most important, an appealing domain name. That could make it attractive to a well-established financial services firm.
DARREN DAHL is a contributing editor at Inc. Magazine, which he has written for since 2004. He also works as a collaborative writer and editor and has partnered with several high-profile authors. Dahl lives in Asheville, NC.
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