March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Angie’s List Inc., a service that provides recommendations for plumbers, doctors and other local businesses, raised $53.6 million from investors in a private share offering.
Investors include mutual-fund company T. Rowe Price Group Inc., according to a person with knowledge of the funding, who asked not to be named because the backers haven’t been publicly identified. Angie’s List plans to sell stock worth a total of $60 million, leaving as much as $6.4 million to be raised, according to a regulatory filing yesterday.
Founded in 1995 by Angie Hicks, Angie’s List provides ratings and reviews to 1.5 million paying members for more than 500 types of businesses. The Indianapolis-based company raised $25 million last year from investors including venture-capital firms Battery Ventures and Saints Capital, as well as T. Rowe Price and Wasatch Funds.
Angie’s List spokeswoman Cheryl Reed declined to comment on specific investors in the latest fundraising. Robert Benjamin, a spokesman for Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price, declined to comment on the firm’s investments.
T. Rowe Price has been buying stakes in private Internet companies amid a slowdown in initial public offerings. The company owns a stake in Twitter Inc. and previously invested in Slide Inc., which was bought by Google Inc. in 2010. T. Rowe Price also is among firms in talks to invest in Zynga Inc. at a valuation of close to $10 billion, two people familiar with the matter said last month.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Fidelity Investments are also buying stock in private technology companies.
Angie’s List introduced a service last year called The Big Deal, which lets users sign up for discounts on local services, similar to the deals offered by Groupon Inc. and LivingSocial.com.
The price of subscribing to Angie’s List varies by location. In New York and San Francisco, a yearly plan letting users see reviews in more than 360 home and personal-service categories costs $39, for example, while in Indianapolis members pay $49 annually. Prices drop for multiyear subscriptions.
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