Shutterfly ($SFLY) has been considering going private a while now (about five years!), and it finally has its suitor: Apollo Global ($APO) just stepped in with a $2.7 billion bid to take it off the market 13 years after it debuted on the NASDAQ. This all comes despite surprisingly strong performance as of late on public markets, patching together a string of beats and boosting shares by 21.6% this year.
However, the digital photography and imaging company's social data highlights some challenges that it faces ahead of it being acquired by its private equity owner, and other data highlights a tell-tale sign it was preparing to receive a bid.
Sliding Attention on Social
Shutterfly's Facebook ($FB) Talking About Count — how many mentions a brand gets on the social network — has been on the decline, as well as its ancillary brands. On top of a weakening presence on the world's most popular social media platform, the company's web traffic has also declined according to our data.
Given the acquisition, Apollo Global, who currently holds companies such as the CareerBuilder website and security company ADT, has another pet project: turn around a company with a declining social footprint, right after paying off a $900 million debt bill.
The Tell-tale M&A Move
We have had a bit of coverage lately explaining how — from pharma to autos — some of the biggest billion-dollar deals were telegraphed with a big reduction in job postings. It seems Shutterfly was no different; from mid-April to recently, the company slashed open job postings more than 25% to 128, according to our data. Because, as the WSJ reports, the private equity investor aims to combine Shutterfly with its investment in Snapfish, there may be a need for fewer staff - at least, for now.
However, for a company that started looking to go private in the Obama Administration, this tip certainly isn't new to bankers' advice.