The owners of instant film pioneer Polaroid’s intellectual property (IP) and photography collection – Toronto-based Hilco Consumer Capital and Boston-based Gordon Brothers Brands – have bought Edinburgh online photo-sharing site Blipfoto.
IP brokers Metis Partners said that BlipFoto will be acquired by the end of the week. The website has reached more than 2.4m unique visitors per year and hosts more than 5m images.
Metis Partners was previously involved in the sale of the WeeWorld.com, the Scotland-based social network, which had made a name for itself promoting popstars Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake and the Pussycat Dolls but went into liquidation last September.
Metis Partners was instructed earlier this month by Tom MacLennan, of FRP Advisory LLP, provisional liquidator of Blipfoto Ltd., to handle the sale of the technological expertise and IP behind Blipfoto.
It is brokering a deal in which Blipfoto, which has generated a worldwide community of users called “Blippers”, will continue with business as usual and the photo journals of users will be maintained as part of the asset sale.
The company said the news had “brought an outpouring of warmth and support for the website from users, and many have posted comments about how much the community means to them and how desperate they are for it to continue”.
Nat Baldwin, of Metis Partners, said: “Blipfoto has benefited from remarkable brand affection. The preferred bidder views Blipfoto as a strategic opportunity and has expressed excitement about the prospects for growing the business and nurturing existing users. Metis Partners are delighted that the deal will enable Blipfoto to continue to expand in new ways.”
A group of investors behind several of the Polaroid brand properties including Jeffrey B. Hecktman – CEO of Hilco Global and Bobby Sager Partner and a Director at Gordon Brothers – were named as the preferred bidder for the assets and the sale is expected to complete by the end of the week.
Hecktman – the investor, CEO and Chairman of Hilco Global said: “The Blipfoto brand has created a genuine global community with users in over 175 countries who share the most important moments of their lives on a daily basis.
“By leveraging this type of powerful social media tool with the direction and great success we are having with the Polaroid brand as a whole and our new retail concept called Polaroid Fotobar, we believe this is as a fantastic addition to our current growth platform.”
Blipfoto was founded by Joe Tree, who decided to record his life – one photograph a day at a time, posted online – and incorporated in 2007. Now thousands of users document their lives in online journals and even meet up in the real world.
Users tend to be extremely loyal and passionate, Tree has said: “They want to create something that they can hand over to their kids”.
The company received funding from both individuals and enterprise agencies and has been featured in Time, Forbes and the Guardian. Its images are downloaded each day by the British library because of their unique historical significance in tracking the lives of many individuals.
In January this year, Blipfoto entered into a partnership with Polaroid and the website was renamed and launched as Polaroid Blipfoto.
Scott W. Hardy, president and chief executive of Polaroid, said: “We continue to see tremendous value in Polaroid Blipfoto from both a business and a human perspective.This was true in January when we announced our partnership, and continues to be true today.
“The heartfelt expressions of support and affinity for Polaroid Blipfoto from members of the community this past week are as clear an indication as you can get of just how much this service means to the people who use it.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement that will enable us to keep this vibrant and important community alive and well for current and future users.”