Sugar to sweeten its girly offerings with ShopStyle grab

Blog network, which began as a single celebrity-gossip property and has since expanded to a whole set of women's lifestyle titles, is adding a social-shopping site.

Blog network Sugar Publishing, which operates a popular array of pastel-hued women's lifestyle and entertainment titles, has agreed to acquire social shopping start-up ShopStyle.com for an undisclosed amount.

ShopStyle, which competes with sites like ThisNext and StyleHive, aims to make it easier to search multiple retail sites at once and lets members create personal "look books" and network with other digital shopaholics.

In addition, the San Francisco-based blog network has officially changed its name from Sugar Publishing to Sugar Inc. "to better reflect its growing reach and expansion over the past year." Presumably, that's a move to indicate that Sugar considers itself more a community than just a blog publishing network.

Sugar was founded in 2005 as a self-funded operation between dot-com veteran Brian Sugar and his wife Lisa (yes, that's their real last name). According to a blurb on the site, "Brian started Sugar Inc. to keep a close eye on his wife, Lisa, and her obsession with Matt Damon."

Originally consisting just of celebrity gossip blog PopSugar, Sugar now includes about a dozen others like fashion blog FabSugar, gadget blog GeekSugar, fitness blog FitSugar and an overarching social network called TeamSugar.

The network now claims to draw in more than 5 million monthly unique visitors and is backed by Valley V.C. powerhouse Sequoia Capital and NBC Universal, which cross-links Sugar content with its iVillage property.

With the acquisition, Sugar is adding ShopStyle's purchasing capabilities to its shopping-focused editorial content.

ShopStyle widgets are already visible on several Sugar blogs. But ShopStyle, which Sugar fashion blog FabSugar describes as "essentially a search engine for clothes," has assured its readers that the original site will remain intact.

 

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