Life goes on at Yahoo: the company has confirmed its previously rumored acquisition of online video platform Maven Networks, although the price tag of “approximately” $160 million is a bit higher than the previous $150 million estimate. The reports first surfaced on New TeeVee and TechCrunch on Jan. 31, the night before Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) launched its bid for Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO). It’s not clear if the delay, however, between the initial reports and the official announcement had anything to do with the bigger issues facing the company. Cambridge, MA-based Maven offers a platform for high-res video hosting and distribution, as well as a system for video advertising. Release.
– Maven, which has raised $30 million, has relationships with a number of major content providers, including Fox News, *Sony* BMG, and “CBS” Sports. Backers include Prism Ventures, Accel Partners and General Catalyst. By comparison, Brightcove, whose CEO Jeremy Allaire was the EIR at General catalyst when the firm invested in Maven, has raised $80 million, since its launch in 2004.
– The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo, will remain in Cambridge but becomes part of Hilary Schneider’s Global Partner Solutions group. Yahoo says it plans to invest in the growth of Maven’s overall video business and to expand Maven’s suite with “video monetization services” and “advanced technologies for delivering consumers more relevant advertising experiences.”
– David adds: I spoke with Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc and Rebecca Paoletti, Yahoo’s director of video strategy/sales. More after the jump…
Both offered details of the complementary aspects of working together, especially as Yahoo prepares to relaunch its video network on Thursday. Both also said that the discussions between Yahoo and Maven occurred month’s before Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid for Yahoo was floated. Ozguc said he regards the Microsoft talk as a side issue far removed from his and Yahoo’s current plans. As for how a Microsoft takeover might affect Maven down the road, Ozguc would only say, “Your guess is as good as mine.”
– A playing field of titans: The nascent stage of online video, which was dominated by startups, has passed, Ozguc said. Now it’s a “playing field of titans and we thought the time was right to become one of the biggest players in online advertising. It’s not just Yahoo’s display and search capabilities, but their deep relationships with publishers that made this such a good fit for us.”
– The combination: Maven manages the video distribution and ad trafficking for over 30 media companies with hundreds of affiliate sites within them. And Yahoo has licensing deals with roughly 75 percent of the major TV ad spenders. “It’s not that Yahoo didn’t have deals with many of the players that we do, but we’ve five years on creating a video publishing system. That technology is the other half of our value proposition. We’re a pure technology provider. We never got into ad sales or creating portals. It’s a very clean relationship from that perspective.”
– Maven brand stays (for now): Ozguc: “We’re still a well-known brand and there’s no reason to do away with it. That’s not to say that Yahoo won’t rebrand it. But the plan right now is to keep the name in place.” And even though the two companies are working on integrating each other’s workforces, Ozguc added that no layoffs are imminent. “That issue has been talked about and decided. Yahoo did not acquire this company to lay people off.”