Exclusive: KIT digital Acquires KickApps, Kewego AND Kyte For $77.2 Million


TechCrunch exclusive – If you’d never heard about KIT digital before, you will after today.

The provider of cloud-based video asset management solutions has acquired not one, not two but three social software and video companies.

The company has acquired New York City-based KickApps, Paris-based Kewego, and San Francisco-based Kyte, for aggregate consideration of approximately $77.2 million.

In conjunction with the acquisitions, KickApps CEO Alex Blum has been appointed to the new position of Global COO of KIT digital, while KickApps CFO David Lapter will assume the role of SVP Finance and Administration within KIT digital.

KIT digital, which delivers video asset management solutions for multi-screen delivery, says the acquisitions are meant to enhance its existing product offering while “growing market share across geographies and client verticals”.

KIT digital’s chairman and CEO, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, comments:

“We are committed to ensuring that our ‘VX-one’ video management platform has market-leading functionality that helps clients realize value across the video distribution value chain, from securing and capturing the right content to delivering it across multiple channels and via social communities.

We are intent on becoming the one-stop shop for medium and large-sized corporations’ video needs, delivering IP video management services from the eyes behind the camera shooting the video to the person watching it on any device—from ‘lens-to-lens’.”

Alex Blum, CEO of social software startup KickApps, will become KIT digital’s worldwide chief operating officer. Blum was an early pioneer of online video and interactive TV as VP of products at AOL, and was previously president and COO of JumpTV.

Blum will be responsible for the overall business operations of the company, including product management, R&D, client operations, and business administration. He will be based in KIT digital’s headquarters in Prague, Czech Republic, will apparently also spend significant time at the company’s newly acquired R&D centers in New York and San Francisco.

So why KickApps, Kewego and Kyte – apart from the fact their names all start with a ‘k’?

According to KIT digital executives, KickApps adds significant technology and product synergies to the company, its Open Source Media Framework (OSMF) App Studio in particular.

The latter product will serve as a unification point for all publishing-layer technologies across KIT digital’s family of products and enable its clients to leverage KIT’s infrastructure to deliver Flash and HTML5 deployments no matter which module of the VX-one platform they have currently deployed.

KickApps 450+ clients include NBC Universal, American Express, Hearst, Live Nation, Liverpool Football, Phoenix Suns, Scripps Network, Simon & Schuster and Viacom. KickApps is said to derive in excess of $12 million in annualized revenues, with the large majority derived from recurring software license fees from its software solutions.

KickApps has approximately 60 staff members, and raised $32 million in venture funding.

As for Kewego, this French company was founded in 2003 and – much like KIT digital – provides IP-based, multi-screen video asset management solutions for managing, broadcasting and monetizing videos on PCs, mobile phones, iPads, connected TVs, gaming consoles and other Internet-connected devices.

Kewego is also said to enhance KIT’s enterprise offering through onsite, digital signage deployments.

Kewego reported fiscal 2010 revenues of $10.2 million, the large majority also derived from recurring software license fees.

The company adds more than 400 clients across 16 countries, including Atos Origin, L’Equipe, Microsoft, Pages Jaunes and Volkswagen.

Michel Meyer, co-founder and CEO of Kewego, will assume the role of senior vice president, product management, and Olivier Heckman, general director and co-founder of Kewego, will become VP sales for Western and Southern Europe at KIT digital (including coverage of France, Benelux, Spain, Portugal and Italy).

Paris, Grenoble (France) and Madrid will continue to be home to Kewego’s approximately 60 employees, with Paris becoming an integral part of KIT digital’s existing Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) sales and account management operations.

Kewego raised $19.4 million in funding.

As for Kyte, this company has been around since 2006 and offers a cloud-based publishing platform that enables companies to deliver live and on-demand video experiences to websites, mobile devices and connected TVs. Kyte was acquired as KIT digital plans to leverage Kyte’s proprietary platform and application frameworks to serve KIT’s global client base.

KIT digital says Kyte also brings key additions to the KIT digital’s management team as well, including Erik Abair, CTO and co-founder of Kyte, and Gannon Hall, Kyte’s COO.

Abair will join KIT’s product development team as senior director of software development, while Hall will become KIT’s senior vice president of global marketing, where he will oversee the company’s outbound marketing, communications and demand generation efforts. Abair will remain based in San Francisco, while Hall will relocate to KIT’s Prague headquarters.

Kyte reported fiscal 2010 revenues of $3.7 million, derived primarily from SaaS platform fees. Kyte adds nearly 100 clients, including CBS, Clear Channel, FOX News, MTV, Walt Disney Company, Nokia, Publicis, Swatch, Oprah Winfrey, and ESPN Europe.

Kyte raised $23.4 million in funding.

We’re still digesting all the news and plan to talk to some key players shortly to gain more insight. Stay tuned.

One thing I want to note straight away, though: Kyte, Kewego and KickApps raised over $74 million in venture funding combined, so a $77.2 million aggregate acquisition price seems terribly low. We’ll update when we learn more.

Update: more details about the deal terms:

The aggregate consideration paid for the acquisitions of KickApps, Kewego and Kyte was approximately US$77.2 million on a cash-free, debt-free basis. This consideration is inclusive of time-based and performance payments, but excludes certain incentive compensation programs for the personnel of acquired companies, which are estimated not to exceed US$4.0 million over a period of years, in a mix of cash and equity.

Approximately US$62.3 million will be paid in KIT digital common stock (based on the closing market price on Friday, January 28, 2011), with approximately US$14.8 million paid in cash. In aggregate, the transactions are expected to be accretive on both a 2010 revenue and EBITDA multiple basis, while meeting or exceeding KIT digital’s EBITDA margin target of at least 24% for 2011.

The total number of shares expected to be issued over time in association with the three acquisitions is approximately 4,611,346 of which 96% are subject to staggered resale restrictions between 12 and 24 months.

Following the completion of these acquisitions, including payment of deal-related fees and charges as well as payments of approximately $4.2 million in net positive working capital adjustments, management estimates KIT digital will have approximately 37.9 million common shares outstanding and approximately US$115 million in cash.

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