News Corp acquires Unruly to bolster advertising and marketing offering

News Corp has agreed a deal to buy Shoreditch-based ad platform Unruly in a deal that values the firm at around £114m.

Led by Unruly’s three co-founders, it will operate as a separate business unit, reporting to Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News UK.  Unruly will continue to work with its existing clientele of global advertisers and publishers and collaborate with News Corp businesses around the world.

Founded in 2006, the video distribution platform was a pioneer in tracking video sharing and delivering verifiable video views via paid media across mobile, desktop and tablet devices.

In the coming months, News Corp businesses 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.

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

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

“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,” said Unruly co-founder and co-chief executive officer Sarah Wood.  “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.”

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

Since 2012, Unruly has benefited from the investment and support of Amadeus Capital Partners, Endeit Capital and BGF (Business Growth Fund).  LUMA Partners acted as financial adviser to Unruly Holdings Limited.

Unruly employs 200 people in 15 offices, and regional hubs in London, New York and Singapore.  Its’ primary base will remain in Shoreditch, the East London neighborhood where its Social Video Lab is housed.

Other significant acquisitions made by News Corp in the technology field include Storyful, the world’s first video news agency, which authenticates and widely distributes video content for partners like Facebook, Vice and YouTube, and Checkout 51, a mobile savings app acquired by News America Marketing.