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Sillerman’s Function(x) on clickbait buying spree

The acquisitions of BumpClick/ViralNova and Rant are part of a strategy to "capture as much of [the viral content] market as possible", says the ex-SFX CEO's new venture

By IQ on 03 Apr 2017

Robert FX Sillerman, CEO, Function(x) Inc.

Sillerman is now CEO of Nasdaq-listed Function(x) Inc.


Function(x), led by Robert FX Sillerman, has announced the US$25 million acquisition of ViralNova – a self-described aggregator for “trending stories on the web” with an estimated 29m unique monthly visitors – as the former SFX Entertainment CEO applies his consolidation-focused SFX business model to the world of online clickbait.

Sean Beckner, the owner of ViralNova parent BumpClick LLC, will receive $10m in cash and $15m worth of Function(x) shares. ViralNova, which collates clickable content with titles like The Cause Of This Little Boy’s Death Will Make You Feel Sick. This Is Tragic. and Everything Seems Normal At This Mall, But Just Watch The Escalator — OMG designed to be shared on social media, was bought for four times that by Zealot Networks in July 2015; the lower purchase price reflects a subsequent decline in site visitors.

It follows Function(x)’s acquisition of Rant Inc. – which operates Wetpaint, an entertainment website for young females, as well as Rantsports.com, Rantgamer.com, Rantlifestyle.com, Rantpets.com, Rantbeats.com, etc., etc. – for around $5m last July.

“Consumer appetite for content is as voracious as ever and showing no signs of relenting, as content is devoured by consumers globally at a blistering pace every minute of the day,” reads the press release from Function(x) (h/t Amplify).

“[C]ontent is king and distribution is a queen of equal power.

“Consumer appetite for content is as voracious as ever … Function(x) is aggressively building a portfolio of assets in a bid to capture as much of that market as possible”

“Function(x), Inc., led by media mogul Robert FX Sillerman, is aggressively building a portfolio of assets in a bid to corral viewers and capture as much of that market as possible.”

Sillerman – who was outed as head of then-bankrupt SFX (now LiveStyle) and replaced by ex-AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips in November – comments: “We are excited to acquire a rapidly growing digital platform, especially one run by an experienced industry professional.

“We believe that the synergies between our two companies are substantial, and when combined with Sean’s expertise and experience, this acquisition will be instantly accretive to our business. [S]trategic acquisitions such as BumpClick are an integral part of our strategy. We are thrilled to have come to agreement.”

Function(x)’s most recent financial statement shows the company generated revenues of $1.22m in Q2 2017 (October–December 2016), for a net loss of $1.62m.

 


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