News Corp announced today that, subject to closing conditions, it had agreed to buy Unruly for £58 million cash upfront, and then a further sum, up to £56 million, based on its performance. The deal is expected to close before the end of September.
Unruly will operate as a separate business unit within News Corp, and will continue to be run by its three founders: co-chief executive officers Scott Button and Sarah Wood, and chief technology officer Matt Cooke.
The three founders will report to News UK’s chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, who returned to the role in the past few weeks after being forced to resign in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at News UK’s newspapers in 2011.
Brooks said: "We look forward to working with one of Europe’s most highly regarded tech teams to create new premium video inventory for our News UK mastheads and other businesses, and to provide advertisers with best-in-class brand solutions across all platforms."
Unruly was founded in 2006 and uses sharing data to predict if a film will go viral, or ways to improve its chances of being viewed or shared. It also offers in-feed mobile advertising technology, among other things.
In the coming months, News Corp’s businesses, which include Fox Sports and Harper Collins, will offer Unruly products to advertisers and agencies. Unruly will continue to work with its existing roster of clients.
Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp, said: "Unruly complements our traditional editorial and commercial expertise with contemporary insight into how people read, watch, buy and sell in the digital era.
"We have a track record of acquiring businesses with unique capabilities, allowing them the freedom to do what they do best, while providing a global platform to accelerate their growth and realize their potential."