10 deals of HMT – Netmums

    To celebrate its 25th anniversary advising on corporate finance transactions, HMT is reminiscing on 10 notable transactions from its archives. The first is Netmums.

    Having completed over 500 transactions, producing a shortlist of 10 has not been easy but the disposal of Netmums in 2011 has certainly made the list.

    After having her first child, Siobhan Freegard OBE quickly realised how important being part of a parenting community was for new mums. Freegard decided to start Netmums, a website for mums by mums. The social network for parents grew quickly and organically in the following years becoming the number one parenting website in the UK.

    When her children reached their teen years, Freegard realised that it was the time to sell the company to a media business who would be able to develop and grow the community. Netmums’ shareholders started to look for potential acquirers and Freegard appointed HMT to sell the business. The team at HMT analysed all the financial details and put everything together to build a proper business and financial model. HMT identified global media group Aufeminin as a potential acquirer. At the time, Aufeminin owned the largest female website in every country in Europe except in the UK and acquiring Netmums would enable them to become the European leader in their sector. HMT negotiated the transaction with Aufeminin and Freegard stayed at Netmums to facilitate the transition. 

    In 2014, Freegard left Netmums and realised that the web had evolved. She saw an opportunity to create a video-based parenting community and gathered a group of 10 well-known-parenting vloggers. This is how Channel Mum was born. After running Channel Mum for a year, Freegard decided that she needed someone to “share the dream with her” and invest in the business. She contacted HMT and with its help managed to get giant broadcaster iTV to invest into Channel Mum in 2015. A year later, Freegard decided to look for a series B investment and appointed HMT again. The team built a robust financial model and identified potential investors. One of them was NVM Private Equity. NVM saw the potential in Freegard and her team and invested £2 million in Channel Mum in 2016.

    Siobhan Freegard
    Siobhan Freegard

    Since then, Channel Mum has grown rapidly and reached 30,000 YouTube subscribers recently. The investment in Channel Mum by NVM was awarded Deal of the Year at the 2016 Thames Valley Deals Awards.