News Corp snaps up social video ad platform Unruly for $176 million

MUMBAI: News Corp has agreed to acquire global ad platform Unruly Holdings for a sum of approximately $176 million.


The expected purchase price for the acquisition consists of a cash payment at closing of approximately $90 million (or ?58 million), subject to certain adjustments, and up to $86 million (or ?56 million) in future consideration primarily related to payments contingent upon the achievement of certain performance objectives.


“Unruly is a feisty and creative company with a start-up sensibility that fits perfectly with our own approach to developing businesses in the digital age. 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,” said News Corp CEO Robert Thomson.


“We have a track record of acquiring businesses with unique capabilities, allowing them the freedom to do what they do best, while providing a global platform to accelerate their growth and realize their potential,” he added.


Led by Unruly’s three co-founders, it will operate as a separate business unit, reporting to News UK CEO Rebekah Brooks.


Unruly will continue to work with its existing roster of global advertisers and publishers and collaborate with News Corp businesses around the world.


“We have always been pioneers in our field, so combining the formidable reach and resonance of our titles with their cutting-edge technology and video expertise will help accelerate our growth in this digital age,” said Brooks. “We look forward to working with one of Europe’s most highly regarded tech teams to create new premium video inventory for our News UK mastheads and other businesses, and to provide advertisers with best-in-class brand solutions across all platforms.”


Founded in 2006, Unruly is a video distribution platform and tracks video sharing and delivers verifiable video views via paid media across mobile, desktop and tablet devices. With its data set of two trillion video views and sophisticated targeting capabilities, the company uses historical sharing behavior to predict the potential for video ads to go viral across all digital touch points.


Unruly’s suite of advertising products includes: ShareRank, In-Feed advertising, In-Page advertising and Skippable In-Stream Advertising.


In the coming months, News Corp business units will begin to offer Unruly products to their advertising and agency partners. This will mean a significant increase in premium video and mobile inventory, a stronger content marketing offering and, ultimately, improved returns for News Corp’s advertisers. 


Unruly’s platform has attracted top tier advertisers, including such brands as adidas, Dove, T-Mobile, Evian and Renault.


“We are absolutely delighted to join the News Corp family, and connect our scaled distribution, social data, and content optimisation tools with the premium ad inventory of News Corp businesses, and their highly-engaged audiences. It’s a tremendous milestone and an exciting new chapter for the whole Unruly team,” said Unruly co-founder and co-CEO Scott Button.


“We are incredibly grateful for the passion and dedication of the whole Unruly team that has today resulted in this phenomenal opportunity for the business. Unruly’s enthusiasm for transforming video advertising and our agile development culture will continue to drive our innovative approach towards digital marketing as we help advertisers reconnect with consumers and future-proof their video strategy,” added Unruly co-founder and co-CEO Sarah Wood.


Unruly’s third co-founder is chief technology officer Matt Cooke.


Unruly employs 200 people in 15 offices, and regional hubs in London, New York and Singapore. 


The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by the end of September.

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