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Wildfire Interactive Inc. (B)

Wildfire Interactive Inc. (B)

George Foster, Jason Luther
2014|Case No.E506B| Length 5 pgs.

Alain Chuard and Victoria Ransom reflected on their history as founders of Wildfire Interactive Inc. (Wildfire). Originally called Promotion Builder, Wildfire had evolved from an in-house marketing solution used by the duo’s adventure travel company to a multi-platform software program used by thousands of businesses globally. The Wildfire product enabled these customers to develop customized social-media marketing campaigns composed of video and essay competitions, user-generated contests, quizzes, and coupons. Users could then push these promotions to their websites or social networks, such as Facebook, hi5, and LinkedIn.

By summer 2011, Wildfire had achieved significant success and the founders believed that the company had reached a turning point. The team had analyzed the histories of similar industries (e.g., e-mail marketing) and determined that Wildfire’s space likely would not support several independent companies and would ultimately experience an industry-wide consolidation. This meant that Wildfire would probably not be able to maintain the status quo and that Chuard and Ransom may need to consider the possibility of going public, getting acquired, or raising additional capital to bolster the firm’s presence in the market.

In May 2012, two large acquisitions occurred in the space and triggered a flurry of M&A activity. Among these events was an offer by Google to purchase Wildfire for $350 million with the contingency that Ransom and Chuard provide Google with a decision within 24 hours. The team set forth evaluating their options.

Learning Objective
The purpose of this case is to evaluate different exit opportunities, the potential drivers of these events, and the factors that should be considered when choosing among alternatives.
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