Glam Media buys Ning for fraction of former valuation

Ning – the social media platform launched six years ago by entrepreneur Marc Andreessen – is to be acquired by fashion site owner Glam Media.

Glam’s described as one of the leading premium content networks on the web, with 200 million users and 2.6 billion page views across 2,500 publishers.

Chairman Andreesen – a co-founder of Netscape – will join the Glam board, and the company’s 100 employees will also be moved to Glam. Ning CEO Jason Rosenthal will join Glam as EVP Social Media and general manager of Ning, and will be a member of the Glam Media executive team.

The deal’s been tipped as being worth about $150 million. Nice, you might think, but not compared with the $750 million the company was valued at just two short years ago.

Ning started out rather well, with more than a million social networks created in its first four years. Last year, though, it cut 40 percent of its staff and abandoned its free, ad-supported service.

Things have improved somewhat, and it now hosts around 100,000 social networks, claiming more than 60 million monthly unique visitors.

“Social media is transforming the way brands are reaching their audiences. The Ning platform and its Network Creators, combined with the power of Glam’s advertising solutions, will ignite the delivery of our Brands+Social integrated programs at significant scale,” says Fernando Ruarte, CTO & EVP Platform & Products at Glam Media.

“Together, Glam and Ning will address important challenges that currently exist for marketers by enabling social media-activated brand campaigns to run in contextual environments that go beyond the few large social networking sites that exist today.”