SurveyMonkey, a privately held Web-based survey solutions company, today announced it has initiated an $800
million debt and equity recapitalization, led by CEO Dave Goldberg and
Tiger Global Management, LLC, at a valuation of approximately $1.35
billion. Google Inc. is also becoming a new shareholder. The combined
transaction represents one of the largest capital raises by a
privately-held US internet company.
The recapitalization will consist of two stages. In the first step of the transaction, existing early investors in the Company sold approximately $444 million in equity to a group of new and existing shareholders. The equity sale closed in late December. To complete the recapitalization, SurveyMonkey expects to raise an additional $350 million in debt financing. The proceeds from the debt will be used to buy shares from employees and shareholders as well as retire the Company's existing debt.
A number of factors have enabled the Company to remain privately held while pursuing a recapitalization of this size. These factors include: a strong, profitable business model that generates significant free cash flow; favorable credit markets; and institutional investors who are increasingly looking for growth opportunities in privately-held technology companies.
"This transaction affords us all of the capital benefits of a public offering without the costs and distractions of an IPO and the demands of operating as a public company," said Dave Goldberg, SurveyMonkey CEO, who has significantly increased his ownership in the Company as part of this transaction. "Given SurveyMonkey's momentum and growth profile, this transaction is an optimal way to reward employees and longtime shareholders with meaningful liquidity while also providing opportunities for Tiger Global, Google Inc. and other new investors who are drawn to our strong business model."
Upon the closing of the transaction, Lee Fixel, Partner at Tiger Global, will join SurveyMonkey's Board of Directors. David Lawee of Google Inc. will also join the Board as an observer.
"SurveyMonkey has established itself as the global leader in the online survey industry, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to increase our ownership in the company," said Lee Fixel. "The Company is uniquely positioned for persistent growth both domestically and abroad, and I look forward to joining the Board as we continue to create shareholder value in the years ahead."
"SurveyMonkey has experienced tremendous growth since we led a recapitalization of the Company in 2009. We are pleased that this transaction enables us to realize a compelling return on our investment today and allows us to participate in the Company's further growth as a significant continuing shareholder," said Ben Spero, Managing Director at Spectrum Equity.
SurveyMonkey created the online survey tool market. Profitable since its inception in 1999, SurveyMonkey changed the traditional survey and market research industries by introducing its web-based platform, which flourished virally with no traditional marketing spending.
In 2009, an investor group led by Spectrum Equity Investors acquired the Company and appointed Dave Goldberg CEO. At the time, SurveyMonkey had 2.5 million free users and about 20 million unique monthly visitors to its website. Over the past four years, the Company has made a series of strategic investments and greatly expanded its international offerings.
Today, SurveyMonkey is the market leader with over 14 million free users, 360,000 paid customers and 65 million monthly visitors to its website. Having pioneered and perfected the high-margin freemium business model to achieve scale, the Company now sits squarely at the intersection of several key technology trends including cloud-based software-as-a-service, data analytics and the consumerization of enterprise software.
ICONIQ Capital, Social+Capital Partnership and Laurel Crown Partners have also become new equity holders in the Company. JP Morgan is leading a syndicate providing the debt financing. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and SunTrust Bank are also participating in the debt financing.
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