Local Tech Outfit Worldnow Sold for $45 Million

Worldnow has been acquired by the messaging technology platform Frankly for $45 million. The acquisition will enable Frankly “to provide mobile messaging and news content on one platform, increasing its user engagement, traffic and monetization,” the company said in a statement. Frankly will also be acquiring Worldnow's content platform, with more than 100 million monthly active users and 450 customers.

Founded in 1998 by Gary Gannaway, New York-based Worldnow partners with media clients on digital content, including video, and content management. It reported $26 million in revenue in 2014. Upon closing, it is expected that Raycom, a Worldnow stakeholder, will own 21.2% of the outstanding common shares. Gannaway told B&C he plans to retire.

"Frankly's acquisition of Worldnow enables us to combine two of the most powerful and proven engagement categories in mobile today," said Steve Chung, founder and CEO of Frankly. "We will become a leading provider of mobile messaging and news content on one integrated platform, creating unique long-term growth and cross-selling opportunities. This transaction provides immediate scale for our business, adding a sizable user and customer base, an industry leading advertising platform and a source of stable revenue and EBITDA."

Worldnow employs 90 people.

"We are excited to begin the integration of our combined technologies," said Lou Schwartz, chief strategy officer at Worldnow. "The Frankly and Worldnow joint offering will enable us to better serve our combined customers in media, sports, entertainment, retail, local news and mobile app development. With a combined chat and content platform, our customers have an industry leading engagement and monetization solution that enables them to interact directly with their consumers in real-time, allowing the content and brand owners to become more relevant and increase mindshare on their own digital properties."

The deal is subject to shareholder approval. Frankly expects to appoint Joseph G. Fiveash, VP of digital media at Raycom, to its board of directors and Schwartz as president of its media division. 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.