Africa.com acquires iAfrica from Primedia and MTN

Africa.comMedia holding company Africa.com has acquired Primedia and MTN-owned news portal, iAfrica.com. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

iAfrica was founded in the late 1990s, and continues to serve as a news source. Africa.com chairman and CEO, Teresa Clarke, will serve as executive editor of iAfrica, whose content will continue to include a wide array of coverage of local and international news, business, sport, and lifestyle content.

Clarke said, “The acquisition of iAfrica creates a next generation South African media platform with a global reach. By acquiring iAfrica, we are able to combine editorial, technology, and marketing resources, bringing the benefits of more original content and better site performance to readers of both iAfrica and Africa.com”.

Laura Joseph, Africa.com’s Managing Director, added, “We are fusing a legendary African news portal with an innovative and dynamic management team under one umbrella. With combined resources, we will continue to make each site better and better.”

South Africa, Johannesburg & Cape Town

Acuris acquires Sparkspread

AcurisAcuris, the BC Partners and GIC backed provider of data, research, intelligence and analysis, has acquired SparkSpread, an online news service providing intelligence on M&A and financing in the global energy business. The financial terms were not disclosed.

 

New York-headquartered SparkSpread was founded by journalists Will Ainger and Victor Kremer in 2005. It will become part of Acuris’ Infrastructure division.

“We are excited to welcome the acclaimed SparkSpread team to the growing Acuris family,” said Hamilton Matthews, CEO of Acuris. “We have been considering ways to broaden our energy sector coverage for asset managers, fund investors and advisors alike. We look forward to collaborating with Will and Victor to achieve this.”

 

UK, London & USA, New York, NY

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Blackstone-led consortium agrees partnership with Thomson Reuters for financial & risk business

 

Thomson ReutersFollowing our earlier reporting on talks between Thomson Reuters and private equity firm Blackstone, the transaction has now been agreed on, with Thomson Reuters to sell a 55% majority stake in its F&R business to private equity funds managed by Blackstone. The transaction values the F&R business at approximately $20 billion. Thomson Reuters will receive approximately $17 billion in gross proceeds at closing (subject to purchase price adjustments) funded by $14 billion of debt and preferred equity to be incurred by the partnership and a $3 billion cash equity contribution by Blackstone. Thomson Reuters will retain a 45% interest in the F&R business. Thomson Reuters will also maintain full ownership of its Legal, Tax & Accounting and the Reuters News businesses. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and GIC will invest alongside Blackstone for the transaction.

The F&R business provides a broad range of offerings to financial market professionals. Its global content sets include fundamentals, estimates and primary and secondary research. F&R also provides customers with tools, platforms, venues and services to enable fast, intelligent decision-making. The businesses that will comprise the new F&R partnership had 2017 revenues of approximately $6 billion.

At the closing of the proposed transaction, F&R and Reuters News will sign a 30-year agreement for Reuters to supply news and editorial content to the new partnership. Under the agreement, F&R will pay Reuters a minimum of $325 million annually. For the duration of the news contract, Thomson Reuters will grant F&R a license to permit F&R to brand its information feeds and products/services with the “Reuters” mark, subject to applicable limitations and restrictions set forth in a trademark license agreement.

Jim Smith, president and chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters, said, “This deal strengthens F&R and should accelerate its growth and benefit its customers across the sell-side, buy-side and trading venues. Blackstone’s strong relationships in the financial services industry and long and successful history of corporate partnerships will help F&R provide new and innovative products and services, drive further efficiencies and navigate ongoing industry consolidation.”

Canada, Toronto, Ontario & USA, New York, NY

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Schneps Communications acquires Noticia Long Island

SchnepsSchneps Communications, the parent company of the Long Island Press, has acquired Noticia, a Spanish-language media company with more than 150,000 readers online and in print. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1991 by William and Vicky Diaz whose daughters Silvana (now the publisher) and Cinthia became co-owners in 2009, the newspaper covers and circulates in the counties of Nassau & Suffolk. It ran Hispanic networking events and a scholarship fund, Fundación Hispanoamericana, for many years. It is now the largest Hispanic family-owned multimedia news organization in the area.

Victoria Schneps-Yunis, president and founder of Schneps Communications, said, “We’re very proud to have acquired Noticia and the very special people who have built it the past 26 years. This will offer an unparalleled opportunity for clients who want to reach the Hispanic/Latino audience in New York City and Long Island.”

USA, New York, NY

The News Lens acquires tech news website Inside

The News LensThe News Lens has acquired Inside, a tech-focused Chinese language news website, making TNL the first digital media startup in Taiwan to buy another one. The move will raise TNL to the top ranks of Asian digital news sources on technology. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With Inside, TNL’s lifestyle sub-brand ELD and the original Chinese-language news site TNL, the TNL group now reaches close to 8 million unique visitors a month. From its offices in Taipei and Hong Kong, TNL produces three other digital editions – Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, and the English-language international edition.

TNL also welcomed a new angel investor, Felix Hong, manager of Nest (an Alphabet company) to the Taiwan office. Hong will serve as an adviser to TNL. With his extensive background in tech, the internet of things and the startup ecosystem within greater China, Hong will strengthen TNL’s presence in content distribution, international reach and content advisory. He will also help TNL to position and build Inside.

Joey Chung, TNL’s CEO and co-founder, said, “As we start our next stage strategy of gradually consolidating and introducing different verticals for our target audience with an eye on leveraging TNL’s existing sales, video, IT and international market presence, we are eager to broaden the content offerings and international audience reach of Inside, while using this initial integration experience as a template for acquiring or introducing future brands.”

Taiwan

AP buys stake in Bambuser, strengthens live UGC video capability

The Associated Press has purchased a minority stake in Bambuser, the  live video service that allows users to broadcast, watch and share live video through mobile phones and computers. The investment builds on the exclusive editorial relationship that the AP has with Bambuser.

Under terms of the deal AP’s director of global video news, Sandy MacIntyre, will join Bambuser’s board as a non-executive director. It is the culmination of a three-year relationship with Bambuser that last year saw the AP sign an operational agreement providing news agency exclusivity for real-time video syndication of content from participating Bambuser users. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bambuser has a proven track record for enabling real-time creation, solicitation and distribution of user-generated content (UGC), especially for news-related content.

The AP already uses UGC-sourced and verified content as an everyday part of the news agency’s newsgathering activities, and there is increasing demand for live video content from broadcasters and online publishers. Through Bambuser, AP can source UGC video news live from the scene from eyewitnesses exclusively for its broadcast and online publisher customers. In addition, Bambuser provides the AP with access to an established community of video contributors who can act as effective “first responders” across the world. AP’s journalists also use Bambuser as a newsgathering tool when out in the field.

“User-generated video content of live and breaking news is the new frontier of news generation,” MacIntyre said. “Bambuser is the proven platform for eyewitnesses around the world to stream their video content and has been invaluable to the AP over the past year, allowing us to access footage of verifiable breaking news stories that would simply not have been possible before. Moreover, we have always been deeply impressed by the proven technology from the small but very talented team at Bambuser.”

MacIntyre added: “This investment by the AP is a natural extension of our existing relationship with Bambuser and will ensure that we retain our dominant capability in gathering and verifying UGC video news. The evidence that UGC is set to grow in importance and volume is plain to see. Nearly a fifth of the world’s population has a smartphone and that is a phenomenal eyewitness resource that Bambuser makes technologically possible. It means that anyone can be one button click away from generating live news that will change the way the world receives the “first word” of a story. With the AP and Bambuser working closely together, I firmly believe we can take UGC to new heights.”

UK, London

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Al Jazeera Acquires Current TV

al-Jazeera-0021Qatar based Al Jazeera has acquired US cable network Current TV. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, analysts have estimated the deal could have been worth up to $500 million (Source).

Current TV was launched in 2005 by former US Vice President Al Gore and fellow Democrat Joel Hyatt centred on featuring a mixture of user generated content and original programming. With this approach the network achieved only disappointing ratings, prompting a shift towards traditional programming in 2009. Later movements towards becoming a more progressive news channel have brought typical viewer figures of around 42,000.

Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement “by acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America.”

Al Jazeera has continued that it will eventually replace Current TV’s programming and plans to use the acquisition to create Al Jazeera America (separate from Al Jazeera English), enabling it to allow its programming to reach more than 40 million US households, compared to the 4.7 million today. Furthermore, Al Jazeera will open bureaus in the US in addition to those already existing in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, doubling its US based staff.

Qatar, Doha & US, San Francisco, CA