Yahoo is likely to acquire advertising platform 5:1 for around $30 million, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The company first launched at TechCrunch50 in September 2009, and had raised around $13 million in various rounds of funding. About half of that was raised in November as part of a reverse merger IPO.
The company has deep ties with Ross Levinsohn, Yahoo’s EVP Americas and formerly the President of Fox Interactive Media. Levinsohn is actually a cofounder of the company and a former board member and shareholder (he divested himself after joining Yahoo). Cofounder and CEO Jim Heckman worked with Levinsohn at FIM. We first covered the company, including their management team, in June 2009.
This is almost literally a case of “getting the band back together.” This is the team that oversaw MySpace in the glory years, including their nearly $1 billion search deal with Google. CRO Peter Foster, CFO Mitchell Chun, EVP John Smelzer and COO Mark Stieglitz are all former FIM executives.
5:1 has signed contracts with 25 or so media companies that reach some 200 million people, say sources. Those relationships, along with the team, are the key assets. “5:1 effectively hasn’t launched yet, they’ve been focused on putting together a massive inventory syndicate” said one source. “Yahoo basically gets to add their own inventory and launch the platform with all of these inventory partners to Yahoo’s existing advertisers.”
We reached out to Yahoo and 5:1 for comment. Yahoo said “As a policy, we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.” 5:1 did not respond.