Two of the UK’s most prominent multi-channel networks (MCNs) have come together in a multi-million dollar deal. Rightster, which operates a YouTube network consisting of more than 800 channels, has acquired Base79, whose partners include more than 300 brands.
As reported by The Guardian, the deal is worth a base price of £25 million, which equals close to $42.7 million. If Base79 hits certain performance incentives within one year, the price tag will double to £50 million (~$85.4 million). In order to raise money for this acquisition, Rightster–which is a publicly traded company–has brought some new shareholders on board. That group of new investors includes Chad Hurley, the YouTube co-founder, who recently parted ways with longtime business partner Steve Chen.
Both Rightster and Base79 specialize in rights management, and they both manage the YouTube channels of top international brands. Rightster recently bolstered its network through a partnership with Scripps, while Base79 is allied with The Jim Henson Company and World of Wonder, among many others.
As part of the deal, Rightster also acquired Viral Spiral for up to £4.2 million. Viral Spiral will bring its social video expertise to Rightster; the two companies previously worked together to build a yoga channel on YouTube.
“Acquiring Base79 and Viral Spiral is transformational for Rightster,” said Rightster CEO Charlie Muirhead. “Importantly, this greater scale and expertise improves the service we will be able to offer creators and publishers, improving our ability to both grow audiences and increase monetisation and positions us as a global leader in the exploding online video market for brands and media agencies.”
MCNs have recently become hot targets. Most notably, Disney paid a base price of $500 million to acquire Maker Studios, which set off a chain reaction that caused the Fullscreen network to become a hot target. The Rightster deal shows that MCNs are drawing plenty of interest across the pond as well.