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2015 TOP STORIES: Angie's List's new captain gets $512M buyout offer

December 26, 2015

The year 2015 will go down as a tumultuous year for Angie’s List, the home-services reviews and marketplace company.

In the spring, the company made national headlines for its opposition to the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Soon after, its first CEO, Bill Oesterle, stepped down. Then not long after hiring a new CEO in September, it got a $512 million buyout offer from New York-based Internet goliath IAC/InterActiveCorp.

Angie’s List rejected IAC’s Nov. 11 offer, which equated to $8.75 a share. The company said the offer undervalued it and wanted to explore organic growth plans to increase shareholder value. Analysts expect IAC to sweeten its bid.

Angie’s List has mostly been unprofitable since its 2011 initial public offering, but investors initially were OK with sacrificing profits for growth. The company’s shares commanded as much as $28 a share in mid-2013, but the stock began sliding as it missed Wall Street expectations.

The company did an about-face in March, when Oesterle announced it would drop its $40 million expansion plan in protest of Indiana’s RFRA law, which he viewed as discriminatory toward gays.

In April, Oesterle said he was resigning to become more civically involved, and he stepped down in July. Over the next few months, Angie’s stock tumbled as low as $3.76 and activist investor TCS Capital Management began exerting pressure on the firm to explore a merger with HomeAdvisor, a home-services competitor owned by IAC.

Angie’s List hired former Best Buy executive Scott Durchslag in September, and he immediately began allaying investors’ increasing concern about slowing growth. He announced an overhaul of the company’s website and laid out plans to draw revenue from non-subscribers.

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