Networkplay has announced that Gruner + Jahr, the publishing division of European media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG, has acquired a majority stake in the company. Networkplay is a digital ad network with presence on internet, mobile and DTH platforms and partnerships with best in class advertisers and publishers.
Networkplay was incubated in 2008 by Webchutney, India’s leading digital advertising agency and funded by Capital18, the venture capital arm of the Network18 group.
Sidharth Rao, founder and chief executive officer of Webchutney, said, “Ram and his team have built an amazing business from an idea a few years ago. We are very proud and delighted to have believed in Networkplay’s vision from the first day. A partnership with a leading global company, Gruner + Jahr, will propel Networkplay on a stronger, higher growth path.”
Sarbvir Singh, managing director of Capital18, said, “Networkplay's success has been driven by Ram's inspirational leadership and the passion/commitment of his outstanding team. I wish G+J the very best in India and am sure that best days lie ahead for Networkplay. This transaction is an important milestone for Capital18 as we continue our journey of working with extraordinary entrepreneurs in the media and entertainment space.”
Rammohan Sundaram, founder and chief executive officer, Networkplay, said, “This is an exciting phase in our journey and we are delighted to partner with a global company that shares our ambition and vision. We are privileged to be part of the Bertelsmann group with operations across the world. We believe this partnership is a testimony to our unique proposition, strong execution capabilities and the extraordinary team we have built over the last few years. This is a positive outcome for all our stakeholders, especially our customers as we now aim to enhance our innovative and execution capabilities in line with the world class standards and experience that Gruner + Jahr brings to this partnership. I would like to thank Sidharth and Sarbvir for having the confidence in us and helping us grow an idea to what Networkplay is today. They shared our enthusiasm and vision and have been great partners through this journey”.
Gruner + Jahr's Electronic Media Sales (EMS) division is a player in the digital advertising space in Europe. G+J recently acquired the majority of MaXposure Media and this is their second strategic investment in India.
Dr. Torsten-Jörn Klein, executive board member and president, Gruner + Jahr International, said, “The expansion of our activities in India is clearly in line with the strategic priorities of Gruner + Jahr. After the acquisition of MaXposure in the print space, G+J is now acquiring Networkplay, one of the fastest growing digital companies in India and follows its strategy to build a combined portfolio of print and digital media activities.”
Kuldip Singh, chief executive officer, Gruner + Jahr India will join the board at Networkplay. Kuldip Singh will also be the chief financial officer of Networkplay and he added, “Networkplay was one of the several companies we were looking at when we decided to build our digital business in India. We zeroed in on NP simply because of the brilliant team along with the strategic vision that Ram had for the company thus far, also they have shown very attractive growth in revenues in such a short time of their existence. We are extremely thrilled to bring Networkplay under the G+J Group and I am confident that with our strategic vision this company will consolidate its leadership position going forward”.
BMR Advisors was the exclusive advisor to Capital 18 and Webchutney on this transaction.