Canal Partners has acquired a majority stake in Limos.com, a Beaverton, Ore.-based online provider of qualified leads for ground transportation providers. No financial terms were disclosed, although Canal’s website says its typical investments are between $1 million and $5 million for companies worth between $5 million and $30 million.
Canal Partners, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based private equity firm, announced today it has acquired a majority stake in privately-held online ground transportation services company Limos.com. Founded in 1997, Limos.com is a pioneer in the lead generation industry and a premier provider of qualified leads for licensed transportation providers.
Limos.com offers free limo and other ground transportation quotes in all major U.S. metropolitan markets and nearly two dozen countries including the U.K., Australia, Germany, Mexico, France and Italy. With more than 5 million unique visitors in 2007, Limos.com is the highest-ranking website in terms of Internet traffic for those searching for ground transportation.
“Limos.com is a specialist in building and maintaining valuable and lasting relationships with limo operators and other transportation firms,” said Todd Belfer, Managing Partner at Canal Partners. “The company’s success is a direct result of deep industry knowledge and strong relationships with operators and affiliates. Limos.com has an impressive expertise in online marketing, lead generation and customer service.”
Limos.com has experienced six consecutive years of top-line revenue growth in excess of 23 percent. Through its purchase of Limos.com, Canal Partners hopes to capitalize on this growing industry by building on the Limos.com business model, expanding the markets it serves and creating opportunities for additional revenue streams through technology enhancements.
In order to facilitate the company’s aggressive growth plans, Canal Partners has signed up an experienced new executive team led by president and CEO T.J. Clark. Clark was most recently vice president of business operations for IAC/InterActiveCorp, which operates 70 Internet brands including Citysearch, Ask.com, Match.com, Evite and ServiceMagic, and previously operated brands like Hotwire.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Ticketmaster and LendingTree. Clark was a member of the startup team and a co-founder of Hotwire.com, which was sold to IAC in 2004 for $685 million.
“We have put together a tremendous team of Internet marketing and lead generation experts that will use its experience with major Internet brands to turn limos.com into a category killer,” said Clark.
The other key members of the limos.com executive team include: Doug Anderson, Senior Vice President of Product & Corporate Development (Les Concierges, Hotwire.com, Hilton.com); Trevor Hart, Vice President of Marketing (Starwood Hotels, Hotwire.com, Delta Air Lines); Ed Park, Director of Technology (BabyCenter.com, Linkedin.com, Hotwire.com); and Carlos Matos, Manager, Limousine Affiliate Network (Avalon Transportation, Commonwealth Transportation).
Immediate plans for Limos.com include a new site design and user interface scheduled to launch in mid-November. The new site will improve customer and affiliate usability, providing a more robust review and ratings engine and a new customer forum area. In early 2009 the company plans to roll out the industry’s first online booking engine, enabling customers to reserve and pay for ground transportation on the Web.
“The combination of exceptional financial performance, scalability and significant growth opportunities makes Limos.com a solid addition to our portfolio,” said Belfer. “Despite being the dominant lead generation company in the limo sector, the company has many opportunities to develop its existing services.”
About Canal Partners
Canal Partners is a private equity firm located in Scottsdale, Arizona seeking to realize superior returns by investing and partnering with proven management teams to create and increase value for highly scalable, growth-oriented companies with a focus on software and Internet technologies. Alongside an investment commitment of $1to $5 million, typical portfolio companies will have an enterprise value of $5 to $30 million, limited debt, solid cash flow, and a proven management team. For more information: www.canalpartnersllc.com.