Comcast Confirms Acquisition of FreeWheel, Eyeing Growth in Online Video Ads

Comcast has completed its acquisition of online-advertising platform FreeWheel, according to the companies, in a deal worth up to $375 million.

Comcast looks forward to helping FreeWheel’s talented team grow their business and accelerate their ability to bring the best multiplatform video advertising solutions to their customers,” said Rob Holmes, VP of advanced advertising video services for Comcast.

Comcast plans to maintain FreeWheel as an independent unit, similar to the way it operates thePlatform, the online-video publishing company the cable giant acquired in 2006, and Strata Marketing, a provider of media buying and selling software.

FreeWheel’s platform provides ad insertion and management for on-demand programming and live streaming feeds. The company, founded in 2007, boasts a roster of top-tier clients including Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Fox, Discovery Communications, Viacom, Univision Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Amazon.com, Turner Broadcasting and AT&T.

“Comcast’s investment in our business and our future innovations will accelerate our ability to deliver on our vision, providing us with the strength and staying power that our clients demand, while maintaining our commitment to the success of our extensive and diverse customer base,” Doug Knopper, co-CEO of FreeWheel, wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

Word of the deal leaked out last week, with a price tag floated of around $320 million, according to sources. The final deal is worth $360 million in cash, with an additional $15 million potential in earnouts based on performance tagets, sources confirmed. The financial details were previously reported by Re/code and Videonuze.

Knopper, along with co-CEO Jon Heller and CTO Diane Yu, have signed multiyear agreements to stay on in their current roles with Comcast.

“We are fully committed to seeing our dream become a reality within the Comcast family,” Knopper said. “We look forward to continuing to play an important role within the TV ecosystem, working to the benefit of programmers, operators and our partners.”

FreeWheel, based in San Mateo, Calif., has about 200 employees. The company raised $37 million from investors including Disney’s Steamboat Ventures, Turner, Foundation Capital and Battery Ventures.

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