United Online keeps people connected. Through its subsidiaries, the company operates subscription-based social networking websites, including Memory Lane (historic magazines, newsreels, sports highlights, and yearbook moments) and Classmates and StayFriends. It also operates rewards membership program MyPoints and provides Internet access under the NetZero and Juno Online brands and web hosting through MySite. In late 2013 United Online spun off its largest operation, floral retailer FTD. The company was created by the 2001 merger of NetZero and Juno; in subsequent years, it moved to diversify its business in light of a decline in dial-up Internet subscribers. In 2016 B. Riley Financial acquired United Online in a transaction valued at $170 million.
Change in Company Type
In 2016 United Online changed from a public to private company after selling its common shares to B. Riley Financial. The transaction was valued at $170 million.
United Online rings up more than 75% of its sales in the US. International revenues are generated by the company's operations in Europe. Of the $192.7 million in international sales in 2012, the FTD segment, primarily generated by Interflora in the UK and Ireland, totaled $157.1 million.
Sales and Marketing
United Online uses television, print, and social media, outdoor advertising, and sponsorships in its branding and customer acquisition campaigns. The company spent $172.3 million on sales and marketing in 2012, up from $166.7 million in 2011.
United Online's net sales fell 3% in 2012 versus 2011, while net income plunged 76% over the same period. 2012 marked the third consecutive year of declining sales and profits for the company. Of United Online's businesses, only FTD's sales increased (up more than 4%). Despite efforts to build its business by encouraging dial-up users to upgrade to broadband service, the communications segment posted a 17% decline in sales in 2012 compared with 2011, while the Content & Media segment's sales decline 17% as well. The poor performance of Content & Media was due to a decline in paying accounts, declines at the online loyalty marketing service due to the loss of a major customer in 2011, and falling revenue from its online nostalgia services resulting from a decrease in active accounts outside the US.
Given the poor performance of its two smaller business segments relative to FTD, it's not surprising that United Online in August 2012 announced plans to split into two independent publicly-traded companies: FTD includes the US and international operations of the flower delivery business and United Online holds onto the lagging Content & Media and Communications businesses. The spin off of FTD was completed in the fourth quarter of 2013. Meanwhile, the company is exploring strategic alternatives for its Content & Media and Communications businesses.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2012 Memory Lane acquired schoolFeed, Inc., the developer of a Facebook app that enables online high school networking.