January 12, 2017: Otter Media-backed Gunpowder & Sky, a digital content studio, acquired full control of Supergravity Pictures, the startup which it had previously held a minority investment in. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Since making the investment, Supergravity has made great progress; building the team, developing, selling and producing more series and films, and launching Antigravity, their marketing arm,” said Floris Bauer, president and co-founder of Gunpowder & Sky. “We are excited to leverage Supergravity’s team, expertise and projects across our network, giving them full access to our development, financing, production, and distribution capabilities.”
June 13, 2017: Verizon acquires Yahoo, which it combined with its AOL assets into a subsidiary called Oath that now covers some 50 media brands and 1 billion people globally. The company called on Tim Armstrong, the former CEO of AOL, to lead the new subsidiary. The acquisition was valued at approximately $4.5 billion.
“We’re building the future of brands using powerful technology, trusted content and differentiated data. We have dominating consumer brands in news, sports, finance, tech, and entertainment and lifestyle coupled with our market leading advertising technology platforms,” Armstrong explained through a blog post. “Now that the deal is closed, we are excited to set our focus on being the best company for consumer media, and the best partner to our advertising, content and publisher partners.”
August 7, 2017: Netflix acquires Millarworld, the comic book publishing powerhouse founded by Mark Millar. The acquisition of the publisher, the first ever by Netflix, is a natural progression in the company’s effort to work directly with skilled creators. Three of Millarworld’s franchises – “Wanted,” “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman” — have been adapted into films that have taken in a combined $912 million at global box offices. However, two of Millarworld’s best-known comics, “Kick-Ass” and “Kingsman,” were not part of the deal. Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
“As creator and re-inventor of some of the most memorable stories and characters in recent history, ranging from Marvel’s The Avengers to Millarworld’s Kick-Ass, Kingsman, Wanted and Reborn franchises, Mark is as close as you can get to a modern day Stan Lee,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “We can’t wait to harness the creative power of Millarworld to Netflix and start a new era in global storytelling.”
September 26, 2017: After a failed attempt at attempting to launch a SVOD service, Vimeo shifted its focus to live streaming. In September the company announced it was acquiring Livestream, a live video streaming platform. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but according to Vimeo, it was the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
“Ultimately, Vimeo is a creator-first platform and live video is what our creators are asking for – this was the #1 request from our community, and it is critically important for us to deliver on what our community needs, while also ensuring that what we produce is founded in quality and reliability, which is why we’re so proud of Vimeo Live and this acquisition,” explained Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud.
November 7, 2017: Discovery Communications-backed Group Nine Media acquired the digital comedy studio Jash whose founders include Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, and Tim Heidecker. Jash’s team of 35-employee remained based in Culver City, Calif, while Jash CEO Daniel Kellison and president/COO Mickey Meyer now report to Suzanne Kolb, Group Nine’s chief brand officer. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“The Jash acquisition catapults our brands forward much like the original merger of Group Nine did 11 months ago,” Group Nine Media CEO Ben Lerer, who previously headed Thrillist, said in a statement. “Also, importantly, Jash leadership shares our vision and values and I couldn’t be happier to welcome them to the Group Nine family.”
November 9, 2017: Chinese news and information site Beijing Bytedance Technology Co. acquired social media app Musical.ly for an estimated $1billion dollars, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Chinese company plans to integrate its AI technology into , which will continue to run as a stand-alone app. The AI integration will likely result in new functionality that makes the app more user friendly. The teen-focused lip-syncing app, which has approximately 60 million monthly active users, will also benefit from Bytedance’s international reach for its expansion
“At Musical.ly we have recently also been focused on expanding into Asian markets, and this partnership will allow us to access Bytedance’s massive user base in China, Japan and Korea, and around Asia,” Musical.ly co-founder Alex Zhu said in a recent statement.
December 13, 2017: T-Mobile announced that it had acquired Layer3 TV in its early efforts to launch its own online streaming service. The telco plans to launch a subscription service with advertising next year using Layer3’s technology platform and relationships with content providers. The terms of the deal between T-Mobile and Layer3 TV were not disclosed nor was the expected content lineup for the mobile carrier’s new service.
We’re in the midst of the Golden Age of TV, and yet people have never been more frustrated by the status quo created by Big Cable and Satellite TV,” said Mike Sievert, Chief Operating Officer of T-Mobile. “That’s because the world is changing – with mobile video, streaming services, cord cutting, original content and more — and yet, the old guard simply can’t – or won’t – evolve. It’s time for a disruptor to shake things up and give people real choice like only the Un-carrier can.”
December 14, 2017: Disney announced it was acquiring a large chunk of 21st Century Fox in a deal that is likely to reshape the media industry. The $52.4 billion purchase included Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu, giving Disney a 60% stake in the streaming service. In addition to 21st Century Fox’s movie studio, regional sports networks and Fox’s stake in Hulu, the deal includes the cable channels FX and National Geographic.
As part of the deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger, who was expected to step down from his role in 2019, is extending his time as CEO of the Walt Disney Company through 2021.
“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” Disney CEO Robert Iger said in a statement. “We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building.”