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VideoEgg, Six Apart form online advertising play Say Media

Life never turns out quite the way you planned. Nor do startups. Two San Francisco-based companies, VideoEgg and Six Apart, are formally announcing tomorrow that they’re forming a new company, Say Media, built around online advertising — a business that doesn’t have much to do with either’s origins.

VideoEgg is acquiring Six Apart, which was recently the subject of deal rumors and had hired an investment banker, GCA Savvian, as VentureBeat first reported last month.

Six Apart, a pioneer in the blogging business, was once the darling of the Web 2.0 movement, a flurry of post-dotcom-bust revivalist enthusiasm for consumer Internet startups. In 2005, cofounders Ben and Mena Trott made the cover of Fortune.

Around the same time, Matt Sanchez, David Lerman, and Kevin Sladek, three Yale graduates, were working on a venture to help nonprofits create public-service-announcement videos, a project that gave birth to VideoEgg. First they started creating tools to manage videos on the Web — and that rapidly turned into tools to place and manage video advertisements online.

Six Apart, after getting its start selling Web-publishing software and services, moved heavily into online advertising recently, touting its Six Apart Media network, which places ads on Six Apart’s own websites, its customers’ websites, and the sites of a few independents like enthusiast publisher Whiskey Media. It has moved away from its origins in personal blogging as a means of self-expression, selling the LiveJournal blog-cum-social network and shuttering Vox, a similar service.

Sanchez will lead the combined company, while Six Apart CEO Chris Alden plans to leave. Six Apart cofounder Mena Trott is joining the Say Media board, which isn’t otherwise changing. (As Business Insider, which first reported rumors of a deal, noted, the two companies already share some investors, including prominent venture-capital firm August Capital, which should make for slightly less awkward post-acquisition board meetings.) The management structure of the combined company hasn’t otherwise been set.

The companies say they’ll have a combined global audience of 345 million. Some critics of such figures note that online-advertising companies often cite the potential audience for advertisements they place rather than the actual number of people who see ads sold through their networks.

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