The Next Dot-Com Buyout

Apparently, I'm not the only one that thinks The Knot (Nasdaq: KNOT  ) may be the next dot-com to get hitched.

Merriman Capital -- not to be confused with Married Man Capital -- issued a research note that pegs the leading wedding-planning website as prime takeover material.

Merriman analyst Richard Fetyko feels that the company's pole position in a lucrative vertical niche makes it an attractive bride-to-be, and I couldn't agree more.

The Knot isn't perfect. Growth has slowed for the stock that once poked its head above $30 three years ago. Its latest quarter was a dud, with revenue climbing a mere 4% higher and earnings clocking in slightly lower.

Then again, it's not as if folks are springing for lavish weddings these days. Many couples are even putting off that special day -- at least until one of them lands a job.

This is the kind of climate that makes The Knot a perfect buy for an opportunistic acquirer.

Fetyko feels that traditional media giants -- from Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) to USA TODAY parent Gannett (NYSE: GCI  ) -- would make ideal gentleman callers, but I can see new media companies also camping out for a chance to get on bended knee.

Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) needs to begin acquiring content creators again. The Knot would also fit right in with IAC (Nasdaq: IACI  ) , somewhere between Citysearch's city-specific venue listings, Gifts.com's referral service, and Service Magic's qualified leads for contractor offerings.

If a conventional media company wins out, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO  ) would be a natural if it wasn't too small to be able to pull off the deal.

Then again, we may still have a runaway bride here. The Knot doesn't have a liquidity crisis on its hands. It's cash-rich and debt-free. It's profitable. It doesn't need an exit strategy, though shareholders obviously wouldn't mind if the premium was right.

Getting married off isn't easy -- but sometimes you just know that the time is right.

Do you think The Knot will be acquired within the next year? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. The Knot is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Walt Disney is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz got married years before TheKnot.com was around and he regrets that. He could have had a punctual person working the video camera that day. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story, except for Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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