Some of Automattic’s early employees and shareholders are set to rake in the moolah.
Hedge fund and private equity investor Tiger Global has snapped up $50 million worth of shares from existing shareholders, including some of the company’s early and loyal staff.
Rather than invest directly in the company, Tiger’s share buyout allows these shareholders to turn paper wealth into actual cash – and possibly yachts and really fast cars.
Just a week after Yahoo bought our blogging site Tumblr for $1.1 billion, WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg announced the deal on his personal blog.
“Automattic is healthy, generating cash, and already growing as fast as it can so there’s no need for the company to raise money directly — we’re not capital constrained,” Mullenweg said.
“The minority of stockholders that elected to participate are holding on to the vast majority of their shares. We’re building an independent company that’s going to be a growing part of the fabric of the web for many years to come, so allowing early investors to lock in some returns releases any short-term pressure there might be on the company for a liquidity event and allows us to focus fully on the long road ahead.”
Tiger joins Automattic’s existing list of investors, which includes Polaris Partners, True Ventures, Radar Partners and The New York Times Company.
Automattic CEO Toni Schneider also took to his personal blog to comment on the deal.
“Along with the on-going growth of WordPress (now powering over 18 per cent of sites on the internet) and the amazing Automattic team (now over 170 employees), this investment is another milestone in our journey towards building a great company,” Schneider said.
“It’s noteworthy that Tiger has recently invested in companies like SurveyMonkey and Eventbrite, and before that companies like LinkedIn and Facebook.
“Those names provide a sense of how far Automattic has come and how we’re poised to enter an exclusive circle of successful software companies that are built to last.”
The news comes as WordPress users around the world today celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first release of the self-hosting blogging platform, which now powers about a fifth of the world’s websites.
What would you buy if you were one of the lucky shareholders to cash in? Tell us below.