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Yahoo Buys a Video Maven

Yahoo, in the midst of fighting off Microsoft's hostile takeover bid, last week announced the acquisition of Maven Networks, a provider of online-video management services, for about $160 million.

Yahoo said the deal will expand its inventory for online-video advertising, allowing clients to buy across the Web portal company's library of professionally produced, licensed video content — as well as that of other publishers — simply and efficiently.

“Video is projected to be the fastest-growing segment of the online ad market, and Maven will significantly help advance Yahoo's strategy, expanding the video opportunity for publishers and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness for advertisers,” Yahoo executive vice president of global partner solutions Hilary Schneider said in a statement.

Yahoo will integrate Maven's advertising technology and video ads with new formats that it has experimented with, including interactive ads. The Web company claimed it already has video advertising relationships with more than 75% of the top TV advertisers.

In addition to Maven's video-management technology, Yahoo will get the company's customer list.

More than 30 media companies use Maven's platform to manage, distribute and monetize premium online video content, including Fox News, Scripps Networks, A&E Television Networks, Gemstar-TV Guide International, Sony BMG, CBS Sports, Hearst and Gannett.

Maven Networks, founded in 2002, raised $30 million in funding from investors including Accel Partners, General Catalyst and Prism Venture Partners. Its competitors include Brightcove and Move Networks.

Yahoo will operate the Cambridge, Mass.-based Maven as a wholly owned subsidiary. Maven CEO and co-founder Hilmi Ozguc will remain in charge of the 70-employee company.

The announcement of the Maven acquisition came after Yahoo's board of directors last Monday officially rejected Microsoft's proposed $44.6 billion takeover deal.

Yahoo said the offer “substantially undervalues” the company; Microsoft defended the bid as a “full and fair proposal.”