Deals

Is the Answers.com sale in trouble?

saleQ&A site Answers.com announced yesterday that it’s going to be acquired by private equity firm Summit Partners. But the decision still needs approval from the company’s shareholders, and according to a report in Business Insider, some of those shareholders aren’t very happy with the deal.

One source told BI, “There’s not a shot in the world this thing is going through.”

The publicly-traded company describes itself as the largest Q&A site on the Web. (It launched some of its features at the DEMO conference co-produced by VentureBeat.) Answers’ board of directors approved the deal unanimously, and at $10.50 per share/$127 million total, the deal values the publicly-traded company’s stock at 18 percent higher than its closing price on Wednesday. (After the deal was announced, the stock price rose to $10.46 at market close on Friday.)

So what’s the issue? Apparently BI talked to shareholders who think the price is way too low. During the first nine months of 2010, Answers reported $15 million in revenue, so Summit is paying less than 10 times the company’s annual revenue. Those shareholders point jealously to the 30x revenue that Demand Media earned in its initial public offering. They also say that Answers could use its $30 million in cash to improve its situation by acquiring companies or building out its sales force.

The unhappy shareholders “claim to control as much as 40% of Answers.com stock,” but it’s not clear whether that’s actually true, or if their sentiments reflect a larger feeling of discontent among the company’s shareholders. We’ll see what happens during the actual vote.

[image via Flickr/Mark Hillary]