Charlie Muirhead's Rightster buys venture capital-backed Base79

Video distribution venture Rightster has used its capital market listing to finance the purchase of digital rights management company Base79.

Rightster has closed its first acquisitions since becoming a public company in November 2013, when it joined London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

The deal sees Rightster, which was set up by serial entrepreneur Charlie Muirhead in 2011, buy Base79 for a fee which could rise to £50 million.

Rightster’s offering provides users with access to a network facilitating the uploading of content and then commercialisation. For news-based customers, the service forms a single platform from which users can upload once and distribute live or VOD digital video content worldwide together with services that drive the activity necessary to maximise audience, the company says.

As well as snapping up MMC Ventures-backed Base79, Rightster has also closed a smaller deal, worth up to £4.1 million, involving Viral Spiral.

Muirhead, CEO of Rightster, reveals that acquiring Base79 and Viral Spiral is ‘transformational’ for Rightster. ‘Together, they more than double the number of content partners on Rightster’s 360 video distribution platform and catapult us past the one billion video views per month milestone, making Rightster the largest YouTube partner outside North America by reach and a top five partner in North America,’ he adds.

The two transactions also provide a way for creators and publishers to access greater scale and expertise, Muirhead says.

According to a statement, Base79 is the biggest YouTube multi channel network outside of North America – registering some 760 million views a month. As part of the deal, Base79’s Patrick Walker, who previously served as senior director of YouTube for EMEA, will join Rightster’s executive team.

To finance the purchases, Rightster is placing 75 million new ordinary shares to raise £42 million. An initial consideration of £25 million for Base79 is due on closing, with the subsequent £25 million based on achievement and earn out conditions.

Ashley MacKenzie, founder and CEO of Base79, comments, ‘I am delighted that Base79 will now be able to offer an expanded range of services and support to both current and future customers.

‘By joining forces with Rightster, we will be able to bring the expertise and industry relationships of the combined group across the world.’

After the deals have been closed, Rightster says that its aggregated traffic will grow from 371 million video views per month to 1.1 billion.

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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