Digital Media M&A


ZM Capital To Buy Greenfield Unit from Microsoft — Microsoft Corp. announced that it will sell Greenfield Online’s Internet survey business to an affiliate of ZM Capital for an undisclosed amount. The sale would come after Microsoft completes its acquisition of Greenfield Online in Q4, with ZM lining up leveraged financing from NewStar Financial, CIT and VSS Structured Capital.

LiveUniverse Buys Online Movie Ad Network Peerflix — LiveUniverse, the online media holding company, is continuing its streak of picking up assets on the cheap, and has now bought Peerflix, an online DVD trading service which morphed into an online advertising network focused on movie watchers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Peerflix received two rounds of funding from Battery Ventures, BV Capital and 3i, with the second round totaling $8 million. LiveUniverse has earlier bought other sites on the cheap including Revver, Pageflakes, Meevee and others.

Reliance Buys Majority Stake in Cricket Video Webcasting Site Willow.tv — Reliance ADA Group, the Indian telecom and media conglomerate, has bought a 70 percent stake in Willow.tv, the Cricket webcasting site based in Sunnyvale, CA. The price was undisclosed, but according to Rajesh Sawhney, president of Reliance Entertainment, the company will spend about $60 million to $70 million in this acquisition and expansion together, quoted in WSJ. Willow TV has been around for about five years, and named after the tree from which Cricket bats are made. It was among the first to start live webcasting cricket matches for expatriate audience worldwide, though a big part of its audience is South Asians in U.S. (including me). It charges anywhere from between $10 for a short series to $150 a full cricket tournament, depending on the countries and number of games involved. In 2007-08, the site has streamed most of the major tournaments live, including the Indian Premier League, Australian, South African and English cricket.

Online Content Marketplace InDPlay Acquired By Ascent Media — Global Media Exchange (GMX), a division of media production and services firm Ascent Media (which in turn is owned by John Malone’s Discovery Holding) has acquired Silicon Valley-based inDplay, an online content licensing marketplace specializing in indie films. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company was notable for receiving investment from some heavyweights including Google CEO Eric Schmidt, William Hearst III, Donald Dixon and Rob DeSantis, back in 2006. GMX is a new division of Ascent, and will be used as a marketplace for content owners and buyers to connect, buy and sell professionally produced content online. The site will launch in phases in 2009, and be aimed primarily at film studios, independent film companies and producers, video production houses.

Aegis’ Isobar Acquires Search Marketer Range Online Media — UK media agency firm Aegis Group has acquired search engine marketer Range Online Media. The purchase was made by Aegis’ search marketing arm, Isobar. Terms were not disclosed, although Aegis noted that the Fort Worth, TX.-based Range Online has gross assets of $12 million. Founded in 2001, Range Online initially focused on services aimed at retail and travel businesses. More recently it has expanded into the technology, luxury brands, financial services, utilities, and entertainment industries. Following the acquisition, Range Online Media will re-brand as iProspect and form the fourth US office in the iProspect global search network. This is the sixth acquisition Isobar has made in search marketing this year. Range Online ups iProspect’s reach to 21 offices in 17 markets worldwide.

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