Ross Levinsohn (left), the former News Corp. exec who masterminded the early acquisition of popular social networking company MySpace, has formed a new firm that will invest in Internet businesses.
Levinsohn is reportedly being joined by Jonathan Miller (below), former chief executive of America Online.
It is called Velocity Investment Group, according to the WSJ, and sounds very much like the plan Levinsohn was rumored to be making last November. According to that rumor, he was caught raising an Internet “roll-up” fund while still employed at News Corp., and was forced to leave. Levinsohn has never commented on those reports
A roll-up fund is one that “rolls up” multiple properties in a single industry to make a more efficient behemoth. Velocity will purchase start-ups in related content areas and boost their online ad revenue by selling across multiple properties, according to the WSJ report. Velocity is also considering buying out companies that broker ads for other Web sites. It is being advised by the investment bank Allen & Co.
Both men have also become advisers to a large private equity firm, General Atlantic, and will work with that firm’s investments in media and consumer companies. GA issued a press release today about their role, but it’s expected that GA is backing Velocity in some way.
GA has invested $1.3 billion in more than 20 companies in the digital media and consumer sector since 1995, including AKQA, Dice, Network Solutions and NDTV.