Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Here’s a Marissa Mayer M&A Candidate You Haven’t Heard Of

marissa_mayer_at_d_600-2Add this one to the “maybe Marissa Mayer will buy this” pile: Video distributor Grab Media.

The company is on the block, and lots of folks think it is talking to Yahoo about a sale.

Five-year-old Grab Media makes its money by taking video from professional content makers like Reuters, NBC Universal and Hearst, and getting it embedded on thousands of other small sites. It’s very similar to 5Min, which AOL purchased in 2010, and has done very well with since then.

Grab has been able to grow into a decent-sized business. ComScore has it in 11th place in its U.S. “video content” rankings, with 29.9 million unique viewers. That puts it just behind Turner Digital and ahead of Amazon. Google/YouTube, of course, is way ahead of everyone, with 150 million uniques.

Grab CEO Alvin Bowles confirmed that his company has hired investment bank Mesa Global to look for potential buyers, but wouldn’t comment beyond that.

AOL video executive Greg Prosl laid out the case for a Yahoo deal earlier this week on his personal site, and I’m told that Yahoo has indeed talked to Grab about a deal; industry executives I’ve talked to think the company would sell for less than $50 million.

Grab, whose backers include SoftBank Capital, has gone through several incarnations. In 2011, it sold off an earlier version of itself, a unit that focused on video transcoding. Last year, Grab raised $5 million via a combination of internal financing and venture debt, according to a person familiar with the company.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work