Ooyala Bought Out by Management

Video distribution business Ooyala announced today that its management has completed a buyout of the company from previous owner Australian telecoms company Telstra. After a disappointing few years under following Telstra’s buyout, Ooyala’s management team believes they will fare better under a new owner, with CEO Jonathan Huberman saying his team is “actively exploring acquisition opportunities to further accelerate Ooyala’s growth”.

Ooyala, which sells over-the-top (OTT), content production and digital distribution solutions, currently counts Sky Sports, Turner, Starhub, Audi and Chelsea FC among its clients. Telstra was an early investor in the business, and paid a further $270 million in 2014 to buy it out. Under Telstra’s ownership Ooyala expanded its product through acquisitions of video ad tech companies Videoplaza and Nativ in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

However Ooyala has since struggled, with Telstra writing down its $500 million investment in the platform to $0 earlier this year. Telstra’s leadership at the time blamed a change in market dynamics since the acquisition for Ooyala’s struggles, but said they would look to return the business to growth by concentrating on its most successful products.

Now however, as part of Telstra’s own change in strategy, it has opted to offload the company. “Also as part of our focus on portfolio management we have already announced the restructure of Telstra Ventures and last week we completed the exit of our US-based intelligent video business Ooyala,” said a letter to investors. “This was completed via a management buy out with upside sharing arrangements for Telstra if the business achieves profitable growth and is sold in the future.”

Huberman meanwhile said that he is confident better days are ahead for his company, with the Ooyala Flex Media Platform having been well received by the market. “We are pleased by the tremendous market reception of our flagship product, Ooyala Flex Media Platform, and how it has enabled our OVP and media logistics customers to drive supply chain efficiencies and revenue growth through automation and AI-driven insights,” he said. “We will continue to invest in Ooyala Flex Media Platform to increase our market-leading position in video streaming and media logistics.”

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