LadBible IPO: Everything you need to know about LadBible
Ben Lobel July 13, 2021 6:03 PM
Digital media publisher LadBible has developed a huge following thanks to its shareable viral content on youth culture, but now seeks expansion with a planned listing in 2021. Here’s more on the background of the online juggernaut ahead of the LadBible IPO.
What do we know about the LadBible IPO?
The LadBible admission to the London Stock Exchange’s AIM market could occur later in 2021, with a reported valuation of between £350 and £400 million sought by the company.
The transaction is being advised on by Zeus Capital.
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How much is LadBible worth?
LadBible’s value prior to an IPO is difficult to ascertain due to scant details of its share structure and/or prior funding rounds in the public domain. Consequently, although the IPO aims for a valuation of £350 million at the low end, this figure could be somewhat speculative at this stage.
What does LadBible do?
LadBible is a UK-based online publisher of news and entertainment materials for young people, primarily men aged 18-34, with a presence across its website and various social media platforms. The company publishes editorial, video and user-generated content on topics ranging from entertainment and current affairs to mental health and politics, with its revenue model based on advertising (see below).
The company was registered in 2012 when student co-founders Alexander Solomou and Arian Kalantari bought an existing site and quickly gathered traction on social media when its first Facebook post achieved 75,000 interactions. A large volume of content began to be added to the site, and in 2013, the parent company was renamed from The Lad Bible Limited to The Global Social Media Group Limited. By 2014, the company’s Facebook page was attracting 5 million users a month.
In 2018 the company purchased rival UniLad, and the same year emerged as one of the top viral publishers on social media, ranking number 1 on Facebook and having a commanding presence across Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter for its engaging content.
Today, the company has in excess of 3 billion video views a year, some 45 million Facebook followers and 10 million followers on Instagram. The strong traffic figures helped boost the company’s revenues for 2019 to around £29 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House, an improvement of £8.7 million on the prior period. The accounts also show an employee count of 251.
Who are LadBible’s competitors?
LadBible’s competitors are often seen as fellow social publishers such as Buzzfeed, Mashable, and Vice, which also provide content on a variety of topics from culture and politics to sport and dating. The demise of mens’ magazines such as Loaded and FHM, which had once enjoyed established print offerings, created an online demand for similar content, and the new breed of companies are all fighting for visitors to translate to advertising income via their social and web-based outlets.
In terms of revenue, Buzzfeed is much larger, with sales of $321 million for 2020 and plans of its own to list in the US via a Buzzfeed SPAC which could value the company at $1 billion, later in 2021.
How does LadBible make money?
LadBible makes money through its ‘blended advertising’ model of on-site advertising, branded content and third-party platform ads. In 2019 it saw a 160% rise in display advertising revenue over six months as it was able to better monetise its social audience through an increased focus on efficient data management.
What is LadBible’s business strategy?
LadBible’s strategy is, as it has always been, to create viral content via its website and social channels in a bid to attract advertising revenue. It also delivers branded content for organisations ranging from Pepsi Max to Cancer Research.
The company’s challenge in recent years has been to maintain a relevance in its messaging and brand perception to maximise its proposition to advertisers and shake off the perception of having a lower-quality inventory. The company has since introduced polls onsite to seek feedback from readers on topics and commercial initiatives, helping the company refine topics and see how users react to campaigns. LadBible has been noted for a reliance on referral traffic from social sites, particularly Facebook, as a means of distributing its content.
With the proceeds of an IPO, the company may look to target acquisitions, since it has form with the 2018 purchase of UniLad. The company has also expressed an interest in disrupting traditional broadcasters, as well as expanding into the US and capitalising on its considerable American audience.
Is LadBible profitable?
LadBible showed a pre-tax profit of £2.1 million on revenues of £29 million for the 2019 period, according to its latest accounts. This compares to a profit of £3.6 million on sales of £20.4 million for the 2018 period. The decline in profits for the most recent figures is revealed in the company’s strategic report as being down to ‘continued investment in people and ‘exceptional costs’ in the year’.
Who owns LadBible?
LadBible is said to be still largely owned by its founders, although the stakes they hold in the business are unclear. Founder of online fashion retailer boohoo.com Mahmud Kamani was an early investor in the business, but information in the public domain about any previous fundraising rounds and/or equity shares is limited.
Board of directors of LadBible
LadBible has a number of key personnel that have helped progress the company to its current multi-billion dollar valuation. Here are some of them, correct as of July 2021.
Chief Executive Officer/Co-Founder
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Financial Officer
Head of Marketing and Communications
Head of Sales
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