Hootsuite Inc., one of Canada’s most successful social media companies, is up for sale.
Vancouver-based Hootsuite recently hired investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to find a buyer for the business, with a potential valuation of approximately $1-billion, according to investment banking sources. Hootsuite is currently owned by its management team and a number of venture capital funds. The potential sale of the firm was first reported on Friday by Reuters.
Hootsuite chief executive Ryan Holmes did not respond on Friday to a request for comment, while Goldman Sachs declined to comment.
Founded in 2008, Hootsuite runs the platforms that businesses use to manage their social media presence on sites such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. Over the past year, Mr. Holmes has openly discussed the possibility of doing an initial public offering to raise capital for international expansion and give long-time backers a way to cash in their holdings.
In March, Hootsuite obtained a US$50-million credit facility from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce unit CIBC Innovation Banking; the company said it would use the money to expand in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Hootsuite’s software is used by more than 800 firms in the Fortune 1000, according to the company. Mr. Holmes described social media as a nexus of everything from advertising to customer service, especially for people in their 20s and 30s, a key demographic for many firms.
Hootsuite’s investors include CIBC Innovation Banking, Accel Partners, Insight Venture Partners and OMERS Ventures. The company has raised approximately $250-million in venture capital financings.
While there have been successful IPOs from Canadian social media companies, including a 2015 stock market debut from Shopify Inc., the majority of thriving domestic tech companies are sold by their founders to private equity funds or larger rivals.
The decision to look for a potential buyer at Hootsuite comes at a time of increasing competition, as the industry consolidates around its largest players.
According to Reuters, recent takeovers in the sector include Interpublic Group of Cos. Inc.’s US$2.3-billion acquisition of Acxiom Corp.’s marketing solutions business, AT&T Inc.’s purchase of advertising analytics company AppNexus and Oracle Corp.’s deal for digital measurement company Moat.