San Mateo, California-based Caring.com has been acquired by newly formed private equity group Caring Holdings, LLC, the referral service announced Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Caring.com is an internet-based online resource and referral service for customers looking information about care options.
On a big-picture level, the move will protect competition among leading referral services operating in the home health and senior care spaces, as Caring.com’s previous owner already had ownership of another online competitor. Bankrate, which had owned Caring.com since 2014, agreed to part ways with the senior living referral service in November 2017 in order to be acquired by Red Ventures for $1.4 billion. The deal was complicated by the fact that two of Red Ventures’ minority investors—General Atlantic and Silver Lake Partners—already owned A Place for Mom, a Seattle-based company that also offers similar services.
Those investment ties contributed to the mandated divestiture of Caring.com, though Red Ventures does not directly provide senior care referral services itself. Divestment details were outlined in a March 7 Federal Trade Commission filing.
“While this is good news for Caring and our future, we also see this as a net positive for the industry as a whole, as the transaction supports competition among referral services and is expected to accelerate our ability to support the needs of more families and elders, including helping to match them to home care agencies in their local areas and provide a range of support service for aging in place,” Caring.com CEO Karen Cassel told Home Health Care News in an email. “Our home care agency network is already large and growing, and with the backing of Caring Holdings, we anticipate both immediate and long-term growth that will be beneficial for our agency partners, the families we both serve, and our organization as well.”
Although Caring.com had been owned by Bankrate, it has largely operated as a separate business with its own management. It generates revenue from referral service fees paid by senior living facilities and other agencies for prospective clients.
Caring Holdings is a newly formed entity that’s owned and controlled by 2050 Glendale Partners, LLC; DHW Caring Partners, LLC; 2717 ING, LP; and Stripes39, LLC. Combined, the team had more than 15 years of online and digital marketing expertise. Past investment from the Caring Holding partners include HigherEducation.com and Soda.com, which operates websites SimpleDollar.com and Reviews.com.
That background made Caring Holdings the “strongest” and “best positioned” buyer to acquire Caring.com, according to the referral service.
“After meeting the Caring.com team and thorough analysis of the industry, we’re excited to accelerate Caring.com’s ability to serve the needs of seniors and their families, as well as Caring’s referral parters,” Jim Rosenthal, senior partner at Caring Holdings, said in a statement. “With our long term investment horizon, we are confident we can build on Caring’s competitive position.”
Despite high hopes, findings from a recent survey suggest relatively few home care providers actually use referral services as their top marketing sources. Only 5.1% cited Caring.com as a top revenue-generating consumer marketing source in 2017, according to the latest Home Care Pulse Home Care Benchmarking Study, which surveyed more than 700 home care providers. Similarly, only 3.6% of providers listed A Place for Mom as a top marketing source.
Written by Robert Holly