Founded with $ 50,000 in Debt, Entrepreneur Sells Digital Media Company for $ 100 Million | Business Observer

ST. PETERSBURG – The Penny Hoarder, a digital media financial advisory firm founded ten years ago by entrepreneur Kyle Taylor, who at the time was in debt of $ 50,000, was bought out for more than $ 100 million.

Salt Lake City-based Clearlink, a digital marketing affiliate of Tampa-based outsourcing giant Sykes Enterprises, has acquired Taylor Media Corp., owner of The Penny Hoarder, according to a statement. Clearlink, the statement said, will buy shares in The Penny Hoarder – which generated some $ 50 million in revenue in 12 months through September 30 – in an all-cash deal for $ 102.5 million . Clearlink will finance the acquisition through financing and available cash.

A highly recognized entrepreneur in the St. Pete tech scene, Taylor, a 2016 Business Observer Winner 40 under 40, will remain in the company. Penny Hoarder’s employees were also offered employment with the new owners.

“This acquisition marks a significant milestone and validation of the hard work of the Penny Hoarder team,” Taylor said in the statement. “We are delighted to have found a partner in Sykes who believes in our mission to help consumers make better financial decisions. The financial services industry is changing rapidly and consumers more than ever need an ally to navigate this new economy. Our partnership will give us a head start in meeting these challenges while providing more opportunities to our employees and advertisers. We couldn’t be more excited to join the team.

Today, The Penny Hoarder is known for its extensive library of content and millennial-focused personal finance expertise. This expertise, in turn, has facilitated partnerships with a vast network of clients in the credit, investment, banking and insurance categories, the statement said.

But ten years ago, Taylor was in deep debt when he started a blog and wrote articles describing smart ways for cash strapped people to make and save money. At the time, he was living in Maine and working in politics with the AFL-CIO’s field and fundraising teams. He quickly moved to the Tampa area, where he had partly grown up, and began to turn the blog into a viable business. Entities such as Oprah Winfrey, Woman’s World magazine, Good Housekeeping and NPR have written about what Taylor is doing with The Penny Hoarder, giving it a national platform.

The company’s growth exploded between 2013 and 2017, from less than $ 1 million in revenue to $ 37 million. Most of The Penny Hoarder’s income comes from branded content which reaches some 17 million readers per month, including nearly 7 million likes of Penny Hoarder’s Facebook page. Some of its big advertising clients, at one point, have included Uber and Lyft and Sam’s Club. The company also generates revenue by creating advertising campaigns that encourage readers to sign up for a customer’s email newsletter, download a customer’s app, or sign up for a customer’s service.

The Penny Hoarder has also overcome several hurdles in recent years, including dozens of layoffs in 2019 due to declining earnings resulting from changes to Facebook’s algorithms and other issues. The company has also had to sue for copyright infringement to fend off copiers and defend its intellectual property.

For Clearlink, the acquisition, the statement said, expands the reach of companies in the financial services industry, while adding additional expertise in paid media marketing. “Through our Clearlink Digital Media group, we are focused on creating a portfolio of digital media assets that help consumers find, buy and use products and services that improve their daily lives,” said the president and CEO Chuck Sykes in the release. “TPH is moving this initiative forward by expanding our portfolio to the very large personal finance market. The ideas, knowledge and expertise we gain through the TPH transaction will not only help us help consumers make informed decisions about financial products and services, but will also help us strengthen the brand and the growth of companies. financial services customers around the world.

The transaction should be finalized by the end of 2020. JEGI Investment Bank | CLARITY represented The Penny Hoarder in the transaction, while Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP acted as legal counsel to Sykes. Sykes achieved sales of $ 1.61 billion in 2019.

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