Apple and The Fancy: Social Media M&A to Rival Pinterest?
No, The Fancy isn’t a new dance but rather a small, social commerce site that’s caught Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) eye. Business Insider is reporting that Apple is talking about buying The Fancy, a content sharing web site sporting Facebook and Twitter co-founders as key backers and competing with Pinterest.
The site describes itself “part store, blog, magazine and wishlist.” While it’s smaller than Pinterest, The Fancy seems to have figured out early on the monetizing trick, taking a 10 percent of cut of purchases, and also giving users a piece of sales their lists generate, according to the BI report.
The 20-person, New York based company raised $6 million in 2007 and another $10 million at a $100 million valuation last fall. Apple’s curiosity about The Fancy may stem from a meeting between chief executive Tim Cook and The Fancy chief executive and co-founder Joe Einhorn, after which Cook began to use the site, according to the Business Insider report.
Still, it would be somewhat irregular that a chief executive’s fascination with using an e-commerce site sparks a business purchase so that part of the story may be more folklore than reality. Still, perhaps owing to caution engendered from the not-too-accurate Apple Twitter flap, the BI report makes it clear that no deal has been signed, no price has emerged, nor is it known now recently talks between the two occurred. In other words, it may be much ado about not much.
Apple’s War Chest
Apple certainly has money to burn with a $120 billion cash hoard at its disposal, and, as a long-time player in e-commerce, most notably with its iTunes Music Store and App Store, the company perhaps could leverage The Fancy to bring in new customers and revenue, possibly through an e-commerce layer added to its OS that could be leveraged by developers, as BI suggested.
Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and Chris Hughes, Facebook co-founder, are on The Fancy’s board, along with LeRoy Kim of Allen & Co. and James Pallotta, the owner of the Boston Celtics professional basketball team. Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, co-founders of the venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, are also investors.
BI noted in a strange-but-true observation that The Fancy houses itself above an Apple Store in New York City, a likely meaningless but curious coincidence.
The Fancy talk is the latest report of potential Apple investments or purchases. The vendor recently was said to covet a piece of Twitter, a wind quickly diffused by subsequent, more credible, reports to the contrary.