Future plc acquires SmartBrief for USD 45M

Future plc logoFuture plc has acquired SmartBrief Inc., a US-based digital media publisher of targeted business news and information for USD 45 million. The initial amount will include a cash consideration of USD 32.2 million funded from the Group’s existing debt facilities, with a further USD 12.8 million to be satisfied through the issue to the vendors of 1,027,492 new ordinary shares. The agreement also includes a deferred consideration based on certain financial targets achieved over the year ending 31 July 2020, which is subject to a cap of USD 20 million.

Leveraging proprietary technology and editorial expertise, SmartBrief delivers relevant industry news in partnership with trade associations, professional societies and corporations. SmartBrief owns a database of over 5.8 million subscribers made up of senior executives, thought leaders and industry professionals.

Founded in 1999 and based in Washington DC, SmartBrief creates and distributes more than 250 digital newsletters, allowing advertisers to target and engage with decision-makers and influencers across multiple sectors including food and travel, business, education, finance, health care, retail, tech, marketing and advertising. During 2018 Future extended its successful consumer strategy into B2B through the acquisition of NewBay Media in the US, which enabled Future to access the B2B market with several market-leading titles.

Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, said, “The acquisition of SmartBrief will substantially boost our presence and market position in the B2B sector and enhance our technology capabilities.”

“SmartBrief is a leading, respected provider of sector-focused newsletters and daily email briefings covering a range of key verticals. The addition of SmartBrief’s must-read information products to our portfolio will further extend the reach of our B2B operations. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, and we have identified several exciting opportunities to leverage SmartBrief’s proprietary technology in both our B2C and B2B business.”

UK, London & USA, Washington DC, WA

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Nielsen acquires Sorensen Media

NielsenMeasurement and data analytics company Nielsen has acquired Sorenson Media, an addressable TV technology provider that will help transform TV from a one-to-many to a one-to-one medium by powering addressable ad delivery and measurement. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With the deal, Nielsen announced the launch of a new technology, product and commercial initiative, Nielsen Advanced Video Advertising, that will focus on expanding and innovating addressable advertising for Smart TVs and beyond.

Over the last several years, Nielsen has made a number of strategic acquisitions that have strengthened its technology offerings and positioned it to thrive in the addressable TV future. It acquired Qterics, a Smart TV software and privacy management company. Integrated into the firmware layer of millions of Smart TVs, Gracenote’s ACR technology provides the ability for real-time, frame-level ad detection regardless of source or platform. And the most recent acquisition of Sorenson Media completes Nielsen’s go-to-market technology stack with an end-to-end ad delivery solution enabling addressable advertising for TV at scale.

David Kenny, CEO of Nielsen, said, “It’s clear that a significant portion of TV advertising will be addressable long into the future. With the continued evolution of our Total Audience measurement, underpinned by decades of trust, transparency and independence, it was evident that we needed to bring our unique set of technology assets and talent to tackle the greatest challenges the TV advertising industry is facing. And with the Sorenson Media acquisition, we can create improved value and efficiency across the entire media chain – from ad targeting and delivery to measurement and attribution – and make addressable TV more of a reality.”

UK, Oxford & USA, Salt Lake City, UT

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RTL Netherlands acquires media company BrandDeli

RTL NetherlandsRTL Netherlands is to acquire BrandDeli, the sales house for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition is the result of RTL Netherlands, Discovery Benelux, Fox Networks Group Benelux and Viacom International Media Networks entering into a strategic sales partnership as of 1 January 2019.

RTL will be granted the right to sell advertising space for at least three years for the Discovery, Fox and Viacom brand portfolio, offering a wider range of spot time, branded partnerships and online (video and display) advertising space.

Advertisers will have access to a larger overall reach, especially in younger target groups in both daytime and prime time slots. Discovery, Fox and Viacom also keep the opportunity to sell their own airtime.

Ton Rozestraten, CCO RTL Netherlands, said, “In five years, BrandDeli has grown into a successful company that we look at with admiration. Cooperation enables us to market an even wider and more varied range of products with the beautiful brands that BrandDeli represents. It fits in with our growth strategy to strengthen our position as a local player within the globalising playing field. Like no other, we are able to reach the masses with high-quality programmes and digital propositions. By combining this strength with BrandDeli’s rich cross-media offering (apps, social media, linear TV and websites), we offer advertisers access to an even more varied and growing fan base.”

Netherlands, Hilversum & Amsterdam

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SiriusXM to acquire music-streaming company Pandora

SiriusXMSatellite radio company SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion. The proposed deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approval of Pandora stockholders.

The merger offers Sirius a major music-streaming asset as tens of millions of listeners turn to streaming apps in an increasingly crowded market, with Pandora enjoying the largest audio streaming audience in the U.S, according to industry estimates. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, have hitherto posed stiff competition.

The transaction would combine SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers in North America with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. The two companies are expected to have combined revenue of about $7 billion this year. Pandora’s stock rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading when the deal was announced.

Sirius XM’s chief executive Jim Meyer said of the two companies, “Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.” He also said his goal is to create value through subscriptions, “No matter who comes into one of our trial tunnels, no matter where they come in, our goal ought to be that as they exit that trial, somewhere somehow, they are in a funnel which we’re monetizing.”

USA, New York, NY & Oakland, CA

Bauer Media to acquire Jazz FM

Bauer Media GroupThe Bauer Media Group has agreed to acquire Jazz FM, the UK’s national commercial radio service for jazz, soul and blues, which reaches 672,000 people weekly. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media, said, “Jazz FM is a much loved, respected and influential brand, with strong growth potential, we look forward to developing it further. Jazz music is seeing an unprecedented resurgence, and this extends us into an entirely new and complementary radio audience. […]I believe that Jazz FM’s expertise combined with our knowledge and experience in digital and personalised advertising technology such as Bauer’s InStream+ will propel the brand for both listeners and advertisers. We look forward to working with the team to grow the business.”

Germany, Hamburg & UK, London

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Huntsworth acquires media strategy company AboveNation

HuntsworthHuntsworth plc, the international healthcare and communications group, has acquired 75% of AboveNation Media from Steve Minichini and John Lee for an initial consideration of $1.75m.

AboveNation Media is a New York-based full-service media strategy, planning and buying agency. AboveNation Media will provide integrated advertising technology solutions across Huntsworth’s Evoke Group business. AboveNation Media will continue to be led by its CEO, Steve Minichini and its President, John Lee and will report to Reid Connolly, CEO of Evoke Group.

The agreement to acquire 75% of AboveNation Media provides for an initial consideration of $1.75m and two deferred payments due in 2019 and 2021, based on a multiple of the EBITDA for the preceding years.

In addition, the agreement provides for a put and call option over the remaining 25% of AboveNation Media exercisable by the sellers or the Group from 1 January 2023. The consideration payable will be based on average EBITDA for the two calendar years immediately preceding.

The initial consideration will be financed through the Group’s existing facilities. Both the deferred consideration and the put and call option consideration payable, may be satisfied either in cash and/or ordinary shares of the Company.

The maximum amount of total consideration payable is capped at $25m.

AboveNation Media generated revenues of c. $1.3m and EBITDA of c. $0.5m in the year to 31 December 2017 and the Group expects the acquisition to be accretive to the Group’s earnings in the current financial year. AboveNation Media’s gross assets were $4.2m as at 31 December 2017.

Mr Connolly said, “The convergence of media and technology has changed the way brands and companies connect with their customers. AboveNation Media is a perfect strategic fit within our group and strengthens our commitment to a culture of innovation and accountability. By integrating the emotional insights that fuel great creative with advanced media strategy and technology, we not only create a more nimble and agile offering but we’re able to create smarter, harder working creative. Collectively we offer our clients the ability to engage and build more valuable relationships and to do so in the most advanced, efficient and, most importantly, transparent way possible.”

UK, London & New York, NY

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BrandSpins acquires TONE Technology

BrandSpinsA year after the digital music distribution company BrandSpins acquired the music licensing giant, MusicDealers.com, they have released a new technology called ‘TONEprotocol,’ aimed at revolutionising the advertising industry. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TONEprotocol, developed by TheToneKnows, Inc., works by embedding an imperceptible tone called a ‘TONE-Tag’ into any MusicDealers’ song used within television, radio, and streamed advertisements. The ‘Tone-Tag’ is an imperceptible audio beacon that converts this beacon to a “code” which can be deciphered by any smartphone. Once perceived by any mobile device, the ‘TONE-Tag’ will trigger a graphic ad which instantly appears on the listener’s mobile phone.

Beyond radio and TV, the audio beacon technology works in anything with sound including films, video games, as well as the retail environment. By installing TONE-emitting chips sets in retail stores and public spaces, coupons, ads, and promotions can be delivered to any smartphone within about 30 feet. This application of the technology could replace expensive and maintenance-intense bluetooth beacons and RFID-based systems.

Billy Tuchscher, CEO of BrandSpins and MusicDealers.com, said, “It is pretty impressive to be listening to a radio ad and magically have a coupon, flyer, or event ticket show up on your phone. The technology is solid, all the inventors needed was a music catalog, method of distribution, and big brand relationships. We have all that.”

USA, Las Vegas, NV & San Francisco, CA