SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 27, 2000--Boats.com today announced an agreement with The Cobalt Group (NASDAQ: CBLT) to acquire YachtWorld.com, a popular online yachting marketplace wholly owned by Cobalt. The acquisition is the first Internet content deal within the boating industry, a $100 billion business that reaches an Internet-savvy market demographic of more than 75 million active boaters worldwide. Boats.com, which also announced its first-round financing and management team today, is building the premier e-commerce marketplace for the boating community.
Launched in 1995, YachtWorld.com has become the yachting community's top online marketplace, establishing relationships between yacht brokers and boat dealers with prospective buyers of new and used boats. With tens of thousands of current boat listings from hundreds of professional brokers, dealers and builders, YachtWorld.com has evolved into the most-frequented yachting online resource with more than seven million page views each month.
"YachtWorld.com's long term pioneering efforts to connect boaters, brokers and manufacturers has resulted in an excellent online destination," said Rolando Esteverena, CEO of boats.com. "Today's acquisition will enhance YachtWorld's current boat listings with outstanding new content and the resources of an enterprise dedicated to establishing the world's premier value added site for the boating community."
YachtWorld.com will continue to be lead by its current management, General Manager Neil McCurdy, founding Publisher Jessica Muffett, and other YachtWorld.com staff, all of whom will become employees of boats.com. The business will continue to operate from facilities in Seattle and remain focused on expanding the YachtWorld.com traffic and product offerings for the yacht broker and boat dealer communities.
"YachtWorld.com has surpassed expectations as the focal point for connecting the yachting community," said John Holt, Cobalt's president and chief executive officer. "We concluded, however, that the boating community would be better served by the combined efforts of boats.com and YachtWorld.com as Cobalt resources are focused on the fast-moving Internet-based automotive businesses. We were very impressed with the boats.com management team and their vision and are confident that YachtWorld's customers will be served very well by this acquisition."
Boats.com is building the premier e-commerce hub for the marine community. The company will unite boaters, marinas, boatyards, brokers, dealers, service businesses, distributors and manufacturers in a mutual exchange to improve the boating and marine experience. Founded in 1999, boats.com is a private company funded by Mayfield Fund and Trident Capital. Headquarters are located at Pier 38, The Embarcadero in San Francisco.