Lots of announcements from AOL this morning: the company has acquired Internet video company StudioNow in a deal valued at $36.5 million in cash and stock, with a portion of the cash paid out over multiple years. In addition, AOL decided to confirm the news we broke last week about CTO Ted Cahall leaving the company, after vehemently denying it up until now.
Finally, AOL has hired Microsoft and Google vet Jeff Reynar as Head of Technology for Engineering and Products in New York. Reynar will build out and manage AOL’s New York Technology Center and will focus on innovation for AOL’s content business and lead the company’s engineering efforts in New York.
The acquisition of StudioNow provides AOL with a video creation platform that it intends to integrate into its recently launched content management system Seed.com. This system essentially assigns, buys and distributes editorial work for all of AOL’s properties, which includes more than 80 branded and niche content sites.
AOL says it will harness StudioNow’s technology platform and network of more than 3000 creatives to develop and produce professional video at the request of AOL editors. AOL also expects to make use of the company’s technology and resources for its in-house studios, both for AOL productions and for its branded advertising and content partners.
Tim Armstrong, AOL CEO and Chairman, said: “Premium original video creation is a fundamental part of AOL’s strategy to offer consumers world-class, stimulating content at scale and the integration of StudioNow into Seed.com will enable us to increase our video content/offerings significantly.”
Founded in January 2007 with headquarters in Nashville, TN, StudioNow had raised $3.5 million over two rounds. The company was co-founded by David Mason, who was previously the CEO of Buy.com Europe (Buy.com was formed out of a merger between BuyComp and SpeedServe, which Mason co-founded with his brother back in 1994) and Adam Solesby.
Following the decision of Ted Cahall to wave AOL goodbye (the latest in a long series of executives jumping ship), the company is launching a search for a new global Chief Technology Officer. A key hire for its New York Technology Center in the meantime is Jeff Reynar, co-founder and now former CTO of social search company DBT Labs, whose recruitment was rumored by The Business Insider last week.
Prior to DBT Labs, Reynar spent four-and-a-half years at Google, first as a product manager and then as an engineering manager. He was responsible for co-founding and leading an internal startup team focused on new approaches to search including Google Squared and Google Blog Search.
Reynar also led the Search UI team in New York that was responsible for much of the search results page on google.com. He previously spent nearly five years at Microsoft where he was a lead program manager on the Authoring Services team that was responsible for Word.