Networkplay, the digital division of European print and publishing company Gruner+Jahr (G+J), a Bertelsmann division, has taken over mobile ad network company Seventynine. The deal amounting to about US$7 million is the second digital company acquired by G+J, this year. In March, it bought Networkplay.
Prior to the acquisition, Seventynine, which started its commercial engagements in the mobile ad space in April this year, was backed by digital media conglomerate Smile Vun Group (SVG). The change in ownership will not affect Seventynine's leadership, as its founders Chirag Shah and Deven Dharamdasani will continue to lead its operations. However, Seventynine will now expand its base from India to tap into global markets - Southeast Asia and West Asia - in the coming 18 months.
According to G+J, the acquisition will help intensify its digital presence in India, especially in the mobile space. "We acquired Seventynine as we felt we were not addressing the mobile segment. Seventynine will be the mobile network arm of Networkplay. In turn, this will further enhance Seventynine's mobile offering with various apps and thereby bring on sales on Networkplay. I have a strong vision of having a 360 degree approach, which will better serve our advertisers," says Kuldip Singh, CEO, G+J India. He adds that all future digital acquisitions will be carried out under Networkplay.
Manish Vij, founder, Smile Vun Group, says, "SVG is committed to introducing path-breaking businesses in the digital media industry and accelerating their journey to success. Our seven months association with Seventynine has been extremely successful. Seventynine has great potential as a business and we are certain that its association with Gruner+Jahr will provide a global platform for the business to grow further. This alliance is the beginning of our relationship with Gruner+Jahr."
Dr. Torsten-Jörn Klein, president, Gruner+Jahr International, says, "The expansion of Networkplay in the mobile space through the acquisition of Seventynine is clearly following our strategic commitment to grow our mobile business in the Indian market. G+J believes that in the Indian market, one of the fastest growing digital markets, the mobile segment will gain increasing importance. G+J looks forward to further expand in that area together with Networkplay and the Seventynine team."
Seventynine handles 1.8 billion ad requests and creates inventories across mobile applications and mobile web; it also has Seventynine App Analytics service and predictive analytics engine. Within three months of its commercial debut, it recorded serving 700 million ad requests.
The brands under its wings include Microsoft, Intel, Lufthansa, Nokia, Opera Mini, ICICI Bank, Tata Docomo and Swizz Tourism. It also partnered with Times Group, AOL, Reuters, Business Standard, Nimbuzz and Angry Birds.
Gruner+Jahr has operations in more than 30 countries with a staff of 11,800. Apart from its digital ventures, G+J has media publications like GEO and majority stakes in MaXposure.