Autonomy spin-off Blinkx buys digital agency for $36m

 
Steve Dinneen
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AUTONOMY spin-off Blinkx has agreed to buy digital marketing agency Prime Visibility Media Group (PVMG) for $36m (£22.5m) in cash.

The California-based company will partially fund the acquisition through a placing of new shares.

Blinkx says it will integrate PVMG’s platform into its own, enabling its video search engine to respond to a portion of PVMG’s 1.5bn daily queries with relevant video results.

Blinkx’s chief executive Suranga Chandratillake said: “Online video advertising continues to be the fastest growing format by a significant margin, and is forecast to reach $3.5bn over the next three years.

“Brands continue to move an increasing amount of their TV advertising budgets to online video, but need to be able to reach an audience of equivalent size on the web.

“The acquisition will enable us to tap into a new audience of intent-driven consumers and deliver TV-style brand advertising to them, which gives us the opportunity to expand our customer reach and increase PVMG’s margins over time.”

The share placing, equal to almost two per cent of the company’s stock, will raise around £9.4m.

Blinkx, the world’s largest video search engine, was spun-off from Autonomy in 2007.

ADVISER: CITIGROUP

CHARLES LYTLE
CITIGROUP

CITIGROUP is the nominated adviser and broker to Blinkx, working on both the acquisition and the share placing.

Heading up its team was Charles Lytle, who was poached from ABN Amro’s Hoare Govett business in 2005.

Lytle’s departure caused a spat between the banks, with the Dutch bank claiming Citigroup had attempted to steal an entire division worth of staff. It followed the exit of Hoare Govett’s chief executive, Nigel Mills, and four of his team – Andrew Chapman, Tom Reid, Andrew Thompson and Chris Zeal – just a week earlier.

Also working on the deal for Citigroup were Christopher Wren and Rowland Bourne. Wren joined the bank last year from Seymour Pierce and has worked extensively with Blinkx.

Citigroup’s presence on the deal has been seen as a sign of the barren M&A landscape, with the bank usually used to working on far bigger deals. Citigroup has been busy in recent months with the sale process for EMI, which it assumed control of after owner Terra Firma’s debts became unmanageably large.