The U.S. isn’t the only market where media companies are consolidating to offer an advertising platform to rival Facebook and Google.
While AOL (which owns TechCrunch) is in the process of acquiring Yahoo, over in Malaysia a similar consolidation was announced this week — although not quite on the scale of AOL-Yahoo (Oath?!) and its $4.48 billion price tag. Media Prima, a Malaysia-listed firm with its hand in print, radio and TV media, announced a deal to acquire new media startup Rev Asia for RM105 million, or approximately $24.2 million.
The deal will see Rev Asia integrated into Media Prima’s platform to create Malaysia’s largest digital media entity. Rev Asia’s addition will mean Media Prima’s total reach will rank third in Malaysia based on traffic — a total of 10.4 million monthly visitors — behind only Facebook and Google, who pull in an estimated 15.7 million and 14.1 million per month, respectively.
Media Prima’s business interests include New Straits Times and two other newspapers, four mainstream radio stations, four broadcast TV channels, and out-of-home advertising networks. Rev Asia, meanwhile, is very much a digital player. It is comprised of a dozen new media sites, including user-generated content service Says.com which it merged with in 2013. It has been listed on the Ace market of Bursa Malaysia, a more junior exchange, since 2011.
Media Prima group CFO Encik Mohamad Ariff Ibrahim said the deal would massively grow the company’s presence, particularly among the 18-35 year old demographic in Malaysia.
“The acquisition is expected to result in the growth of revenue contributions from Media Prime’s digital platform exponentially,” he added.
For its last financial year, Rev Asia reported a RM6 million ($1.4 million) profit on total revenue of RM23.4 million ($5.4 million).
Three of Malaysia’s most prominent tech entrepreneurs are involved with Rev Asia. Patrick Grove started the media company through his Catcha Group business, which retains a 57 percent share of Rev Asia and is involved in ventures such as Iflix (recently raised $90 million), iProperty (sold to News Corp) and iCar Asia (listed on the Australian Stock Exchange). 500 Startups’ partner Khailee Ng and Fave CEO Joel Neoh founded Says.com and came aboard following the 2013 merger deal. Ng and Neoh had previously sold a local group-buying site to Groupon.