Week in Review: Traditional media player, Media Prima, makes a US$24mil move for scale & millenials

  • Deal will not be ecosystem catalyst says Ganesh Kumar Bangah
  • Acquisition frees Patrick Grove, Khailee Ng to pursue other projects

CORPORATE acquisitions of startups have always been one of the gaping holes in the startup ecosystem of Southeast Asia and so it was a lift to see such a deal happen in Malaysia this week.

Leading media company Media Prima Bhd, announced the acquisition of digital media company Rev Asia Holdings Sdn Bhd, through Media Prima Digital Sdn Bhd, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary. Valued at US$24.2 million (RM105 million), the acquisition is subject to conditions in the Sale and Purchase Agreement being met after which Rev Asia Holdings’ assets will be incorporated into Media Prima’s media platforms.

The deal is seen as a win-win situation for both parties with Media Prima finally able to plug a gap it sees in its portfolio of media assets, with Rev Asia’s millenials reach especially through the English focused Says and Oh Bulan, in Bahasa Malaysia.

Media Prima also achieves scale by combining its existing 5 digital million visitors with Rev Asia’s 5.4 million.

As Lavis Chong, Media Analyst at AmBank Research notes, “Media Prima needed to reach critical mass in the digital space to monetize it.”

He also doesn’t see the deal as sparking more deals from traditional media companies, simply because, “the hunt for synergies has already been instigated some time ago since the listed media companies realised the structural shift in the media landscape.”

The deal is also a win for RevAsia, especially its standout shareholders Patrick Grove of Catcha Group and Khailee Ng. Rev Asia Holdings was born out of the US$12.7 million RM60 million merger in 2013 between Grove’s Catcha Media and the Khailee founded Says.com.

“They both have a lot on their plates and Rev Asia is already a mature company, so it makes sense for them to sell and focus on their other projects,” says Ganesh Kumar Bangah, the founder of MOL Global, who is now an investor and mentor in the ecosystem.

And speaking of the ecosystem, if startups are hoping that this deal will trigger a wave of further digital acquisitions by brick and mortar companies, in media or not, Ganesh had this to say.

“I actually don’t see a big change in the ecosystem as this is not going to be a catalyst for more such deals. It is more a deal between two corporate companies.”

Do you agree with Ganesh?

Chew on that while you have a restful weekend. Here’s wishing you a productive week after.

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