BlackArrow acquired by Cross MediaWorks in latest ad-tech M&A deal

BlackArrow, the ad tech company working with cable-industry joint venture Canoe to grow pay-TV's dynamic ad-insertion (DAI) business, has been acquired by Cross MediaWorks.

Representatives for BlackArrow would not confirm reports that the deal included cash and stock valued at between $90 million to $120 million.

BlackArrow supplies DAI software technology to cable companies including Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks. The company has worked closely with cable industry joint venture Canoe to grow the VOD DAI business, which saw impressions more than double to 2.77 billion in the second quarter, according to Canoe. 

BlackArrow has raised around $65 million from investors such as Cisco Systems, Comcast Ventures, Intel Capital and Google.

Holding company Cross MediaWorks, through its Cadent Network unit, works with most of the same cable operators to help them sell targeted advertising based on variables such as zip code. The acquisition gives Cross Media the ability to add VOD to the advertising inventory it sells.

Founded in 2007, Cross MediaWorks has relationships with global ad agencies including IPG, WPP, Omnicom, Havas and Publicis. The company works with major brands, including Allstate, Dannon, Dr. Scholl's, FedEx, Jimmy Dean, Kumon, L'Oreal, Liberty Mutual, Macaroni Grill, Merck, Red Robin, Sears, StubHub and Welch's.

BlackArrow CEO Nick Troiano will stay on and serve as CEO of Cross MediaWorks.  

"Cross MediaWorks and Cadent Network have built trust on the operator and agency side for bringing high-value advertising solutions and linear expertise to the marketplace," Troiano told FierceCable. "What they bring to the table in this relationship are the strong relationships with advertisers that can complement BlackArrow technology. We think that combination can be a catalyst for making this market move on a global basis."

The BlackArrow purchase is only the latest ad-tech industry M&A deal, led by Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) $4.4 billion purchase of AOL over the spring. Comcast, meanwhile, has also bought up This Technology, Visible World and FreeWheel.

Added Joan Gillman, executive VP and COO of media services for BlackArrow client TWC: "Cross MediaWorks and BlackArrow individually have deep roots in the pay-TV community. The integration of BlackArrow into the Cross MediaWorks family will provide operators with the tools and services they need to maximize revenue from their TV inventory, whether that's traditional linear TV spots or addressable advertising on VOD or OTT platforms"

For more:
- read this Cross MediaWorks press release
- read this Wall Street Journal story

Related links:
BlackArrow partners with TWC to expand DAI to streaming devices
BlackArrow announces major U.K. expansion with Virgin Media deal
Canoe: Dynamic ad insertion into cable VOD spikes another 8% in Q2