The Chernin Group buys stake in Base79

Former News Corp. boss’s new firm grabs 20-plus percent stake
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Call it a harbinger, bellwether, serendipitous or just an interesting business move, but The Chernin Group's (TCG) decision to invest $10 million into U.K.-based online media company Base79 is for sure an eyebrow-raising move. That's because TCG is ruled by former News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) President-COO Peter Chernin, who knows a thing or two about media.

The investment gives TCG somewhere between a 20 and 28 percent stake in Base79. Less surprising but still noteworthy was the unspecified additional investment the firm received from its existing backer MMC Ventures.

In explaining the investment, Chernin called Base79 "one of the clear leaders in online video, an exciting space that we believe is positioned to grow faster than any other area of media," adding that TCG "look[s] forward to partnering with the company and its management team to help build on its vision and capitalize on further opportunities for growth."

That help, along with MMC's further backing, "will be invaluable as we accelerate the company's international growth and distribution of premium video content across multiple platforms and devices," Ashley MacKenzie, Base79's founder-CEO, said in a statement carried by the San Francisco Examiner. "We have experienced extraordinary growth and believe this partnership will allow a new chapter of even greater opportunity."

Base79's business revolves around partnering with video rights holders and producers to "build online audiences and brands, claim and protect their intellectual property, sell premium advertising and generate new revenue streams on YouTube and other OTT platforms" by using technology and processes designed to improve content partners' reach and revenues in online video, the company said in a news release.

The company's client list of 300-plus premium content partners includes BBC Worldwide, IMG Media, Simon Cowell's SyCo, Ministry of Sound, Guinness World Records and, of course, leading YouTube content. The company claims to generate more than 550 million views monthly across nearly 550 YouTube channels, and YouTube's global head of entertainment welcomed TCG's investment as "a sign of the growth of the YouTube ecosystem in Europe."

For more:
- Base79 issued this news release

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