By Sahil Patel
Comcast has formally announced its acquisition of FreeWheel, a video ad company that serves some of the biggest online video providers and TV networks in the US. While the companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, reports indicate that the price was $360 million, with the potential to rise to $375 million when you factor in employee retention bonuses and other forms of compensation.
FreeWheel has raised more than $35 million to date from investors that include Battery Ventures, Foundation Capital, and Turner Broadcasting. The company’s clients include AOL, Crackle, ESPN, Fox, NBCUniversal (which is also owned by Comcast), and VEVO.
The company will operate as a standalone business unit inside Comcast, similar to video-tech company ThePlatform, which Comcast acquired in 2006.
As part of the deal, FreeWheel co-founders Doug Knopper, Jon Heller, and Diane Yu (Knopper and Heller also serve as co-CEOs) have each signed multi-year contracts to stay in their roles.
In a blog post, the trio provided the following statement:
“FreeWheel’s mission has always been to unify television advertising wherever content is viewed. To make this a reality, the industry needs an enterprise advertising platform that works on all screens, across the entire ecosystem, at scale. Comcast’s investment in our business and our future innovations will accelerate our ability to deliver on our vision, providing us with the strength and staying power that our clients demand, while maintaining our commitment to the success of our extensive and diverse customer base. We have developed a strong and productive relationship with Comcast and know that they will be a solid partner for FreeWheel in the future, just like they have for thePlatform and STRATA.”