News Corp prepares to offload Unruly to Tremor

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp has reached a provisional deal to sell its video solutions arm, Unruly, to adtech business Tremor.

Initially reported by Sky News in the UK, a Murdoch-founded news outlet, the deal sees News Corp take an equity stake in Tremor, and the business become the media empire’s video lead for the next three years.

News Corp is planning to sell video ad service Unruly at a discount in a bid to streamline its business

Mumbrella understands News Corp Australia and Unruly will continue to be closely integrated over the coming years.

News Corp acquired Unruly in 2015 in a deal reportedly worth over $130m. It is thought to be selling the business at a massive discount. News Corp is receiving 6.91% of Tremor International stock, subject to an 18-month lock-up period and to certain adjustments, along with a total minimum revenue guarantee for News Corp of $55m for the partnership.

The deal kicks off a three-year partnership with News Corp which will hand Tremor the exclusive right to sell outstream video on more than 50 News Corp titles in the UK, US and Australia.

News Corp’s chief executive of News UK, Rebekah Brooks, will join the board of Tremor as a non-executive director. Brooks returned to News Corp four years ago after leaving in 2011 following the News Of The World phone-hacking scandal.

Ofer Druker, CEO of Tremor International, said the deal positions the business well for its future growth.

“With this deal, Unruly and the relationship with News Corp bolster Tremor International’s supply side platform, giving us a global footprint and allowing us to more rapidly take our recently acquired RhythmOne offering to an international market,” said Druker.

“Unruly’s positive brand awareness and the value it delivers to partners, including relationships with globally recognized media brands, will propel Tremor International’s business, particularly in the European and APAC markets where Tremor will run its business under the Unruly brand.”

Norm Johnston, CEO of Unruly said: “Unruly will benefit from Tremor’s wide range of formats, including advanced TV and In-App, as well as an analytics suite and yield optimisation tools. Together we’ll bring the power of emotions to video advertising to drive better results for advertisers, higher levels of engagement for consumers and more revenue for publishers. We are also grateful for the opportunity for Unruly to continue partnering with News Corp and its businesses around the world, with whom we have worked so closely and productively for years. And News Corp benefits from the transaction both financially and by having found a partner to take Unruly forward and drive digital outstream revenues.”

Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp, said, “The sale of Unruly marks an important step in our strategy of simplification at News Corp, while we expect it to yield ongoing financial benefits. We look forward to partnering with Tremor and are grateful to Unruly and its truly talented team, who have helped our businesses in the U.K., US and Australia advance their digital advertising expertise.”

In the acquisition announcement in 2015, Thomson called it a “feisty and creative company” and boasted about the business’ ability to acquire others. But Murdoch has now been trying to shift the Unruly business for many months.

“We have a track record of acquiring businesses with unique capabilities, allowing them the freedom to do what they do best, while providing a global platform to accelerate their growth and realise their potential,” said Thomson at the time.

In 2019, Thomson told The Sydney Morning Herald the business was in the process of selling News America Marketing and Unruly, both of which reflected a drag on the media company’s waning financials.

Unruly has offices in London, Sydney, Tokyo, Singapore and Hamburg.


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