Sugar Sweetens Pot with Coutorture Buy, Plans Move Beyond Fashion

Internet media network for women, Sugar, expanded its footprint online with the acquisition of Coutorture Media on Tuesday. Sugar also plans to expand its core business with the launch of additional sites for pets and parents in the coming weeks.

The addition of Coutorture, and ShopStyle, which Sugar acquired in September, will allow Sugar to “increase our audience and what we can provide to the audience, said Sugar founder and CEO Brian Sugar. He added, “There’s more inventory.” The newly-acquired acts as a hub for a community of about 230 style-focused Web sites and blogs.

Ad inventory across Sugar’s network is sold by iVillage, a unit of NBC Universal. “We at Sugar Inc. are in the content creation and community business, as well as commerce,” said Sugar. Relying on NBC to sell its ads “allows us to focus on what we do, hire editors, produce content and build a suite of Web sites.”

Following the two acquisitions, Sugar’s immediate goals are to take advantage of Coutorture’s expertise in powering a network of bloggers and Web sites by providing photography, video, press releases, and other resources. The 230-plus sites in the Coutorture network remain independent of Sugar Inc. The publisher will also integrate ShopStyle across the network to give readers access to the shopping site’s tools, and build its international presence speaking to the same 18 to 45 year-old audience served by Sugar with more localized editorial content.

Sugar also plans to expand its core business with the launch of additional sites in the coming weeks including Pet Sugar, parenting site Lil’Sugar, political site Citizen Sugar, and finance-focused Savvy Sugar. The sites on the launch list join existing content from PopSugar, SugarLoving, BuzzSugar, BellaSugar, CasaSugar, GeekSugar, FitSugar, and more sites on the network. Social networking platform Team Sugar ties the community together with the ability for users to create profiles, share tips and photos, post about celebrity sightings, and peruse the social shopping section.

After two rounds of funding, mainly from Sequoia Capital and NBC Universal, Sugar has money in the bank and expects to be profitable in Q4 this year. The company will continue to enhance its business through organic growth and possibly through follow-on acquisitions. “If there’s stuff out there that we think would provide value to our overall vision, we are doing it,” said Sugar.

Sugar said the Coutorture Media acquisition was a mix of equity and cash. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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