WeddingWire to Marry the Knot in Match Made by Private Equity

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XO Group Inc., parent company of wedding-planning website the Knot, agreed to be taken private for about $933 million, a deal that would hitch it to nuptials- planning marketplace WeddingWire Inc.
 In the deal, private-equity firms Permira and Spectrum Equity, lead investors of Wedding- Wire, will pay XO Group shareholders $35 a share, a 27% premium to XO Group's closing price Monday of $27.64.
 Both brands will be operated as separate consumer products so that wedding professionals and their partners can have both offerings, XO Group said Tuesday. XO Group Chief Executive Mike Steib and WeddingWire CEO Tim Chi will also become co-CEOs of the combined company upon the deal's completion.
 Under terms of the deal, Permira and Spectrum will have to pay a $30 million termination fee if the deal isn't closed by June 24, or a $50 million fee if other conditions aren't met.
 XO Group, which is able to solicit proposals from other parties through Nov. 8, could pay an $8.1 million breakup fee if it enters an agreement on a superior proposal received during the goshop period, when a public company can seek out competing offers.
 XO Group's portfolio also includes life-stage websites, the Nest, the Bump, GigMasters, HowHeAsked and Lasting. WeddingWire is a global online marketplace that assists with wedding planning.  

— Kimberly Chin


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