The Active Network Stops for Overhaul Following a Decade of Acquisitions
About as far back as I can remember, The Active Network usually has made at least one acquisition by this time of year.
But it’s been a silent spring over at Active HQ in San Diego’s Sorrento Valley, where the venture-backed company develops software that customers use to manage recreational sports events, including online registration, payments, and marketing. Combining a business that’s focused on helping people to get out and about (triathalons, campground reservations, tennis tournaments) with strong capabilities in software development (I’m imagining code written by pudgy and translucent-skinned programmers who feed at night on bear claws from the snack machine) makes me wonder sometimes how active The Active Network’s 2,200 employees really are.
But I digress.
Until recently, The Active Network has been pursuing an aggressive growth-through-acquisition strategy that I once compared to kudzu, “the vine that ate the South.” To fund its growth, the company has raised more than $200 million from VC firms and other investors, including ESPN, Canaan Partners, Tao Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, North Bridge Venture Partners, Comdisco Ventures, and Performance Equity Partners. But The Active Network made its last noteworthy acquisition more than a year ago, when it bought the online campground reservation provider Reserve America from IAC, (NASDAQ: IACI).
So what happened? Is there a reason for The Active Network’s inactivity on the M&A front?
As it turns out, there is.