News Corp announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire Unruly, a social video ad platform, for £114 million ($176 million). Unruly first established themselves as a video distribution company before moving into the programmatic native space over the last few years.
In a press release, Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp, said“The acquisition will serve as a catalyst for our brands, helping to extend our expertise in the digital and mobile video area, whether through the fast-growing realtor.com in the US, Fox Sports in Australia, News America Marketing, HarperCollins Publishers, or our market-leading mastheads around the world. Unruly complements our traditional editorial and commercial expertise with contemporary insight into how people read, watch, buy and sell in the digital era.”
Unruly will be run as a separate business unit within News Corp, where it will be run by the company’s three co-founders. They will report to Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News UK, who recently rejoined the company after resigning in 2011 following the phone hacking scandal.
Unruly was founded in 2006 and its products include (quoted directly from the official statement=:
- ShareRank – proprietary technology that is able to predict the virality of videos across social and digital media. ShareRank can also inform the changes that need to be made to video content in order to improve the number of times a video is viewed, liked and shared.
- In-Feed advertising – a mobile-first, video ad format that dynamically adapts to the unique look and feel of news feed formats. Leveraging Unruly’s ViewPlay technology, the ad plays as soon as the unit is in view on the page.
In-Page advertising – video advertising that appears as video player units within the body of article pages, across desktop and mobile.
- Skippable In-Stream Advertising – offering programmatic targeting and prominent branding within the player.
News Corp business units will begin to offer Unruly products to their advertising and agency partners, which they say will provide them with additional premium video and mobile inventory and a stronger content marketing offering. Unruly’s platform has attracted top tier advertisers, including such brands as adidas, Dove, T-Mobile, Evian and Renault.
The expected purchase price for the acquisition consists of a cash payment of £58 million (approximately US$90 million), subject to certain adjustments, and up to £56 million (approximately US$86 million) if the company meets certain performance objectives.