Moonfruit sold to Yell for $29 Million

Moonfruit Finally Exits For $29 Million In Cash To Re-energize Yell

“In the white heat of the current tech market it’s sometimes easy to forget that some companies, although taking their time, simply become viable businesses – instead of waiting for a call from Facebook or Twitter that may never come. I’ve been covering web site and shop builder Moonfruit for longer than I care to remember (they launched in 2000), but along the way husband and wife team Joe and Wendy White kept on pushing the company until it was one of the most innovative of its kind out there. Today that hard work is rewarded in Moonfruit’s acquisition by directories giant Yell for $29 million (£18m) in cash.

Unusually for a UK acquisition announcement, Yell has also made the golden hand-cuffs explicit for the founders. Retention bonuses of £5.2m (£2.7m grossed up) will be paid to Moonfruit’s executive management team of Joe White, Eirik Pettersen and Wendy Tan-White after two years, provided that they remain exclusively employed by Yell.

Most people know Yell as a yellow pages directory for its 1.3 million SME customers. Clearly what it must become to survive in the era of Google is a online marketplace providing not just listings but business tools for that market.

Over 5 million sites and 230,000 shops have been built using Moonfruit, which is now the no. 1 hosted site builder in the UK, and has seen over 1.5 million sites built in the US. It’s also build a very sticky Facebook integration.”

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