Former RTÉ journalist Mark Little has sold Storyful, the social media news agency he founded, to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp for €18m.
The sale price is a massive return on investment for its shareholders, who include Mr Little, David Clinch, Ray Nolan, SOS Ventures, and AIB start-up accelerator fund, and Enterprise Ireland.
Mr Little, who was RTÉ’s Washington correspondent and an anchor on Prime Time, set up Storyful in 2008. The agency authenticates footage taken by social media and then sells it to its clients, which includes some of the top traditional news outlets in the world.
“Storyful has become the village square for valuable video, using journalistic sensibility, integrity, and creativity to find, authenticate, and commercialise user-generated content,” said Robert Thomson, chief executive of News Corp.
“Through this acquisition, we can extend the village square across borders, languages, and platforms.”
According to company accounts, the tech entrepreneur Ray Nolan held 49,621 A ordinary shares; 7,545 B ordinary shares, and 81,458 series A preference shares in Storyful.
Enterprise Ireland held 54,087 series A preference shares and 119,191 deferred shares. Dragons’ Den judge Sean O’Sullivan’s firm, SOS Ventures, owned 116,973 series A preference shares and 2,690 B ordinary shares. AIB owned 78,291 Series A preference shares. David Clinch, Storyful’s executive editor, owns 22,054 A ordinary shares and 2,158 B ordinary shares, and Mark Little holds 248,100 A ordinary shares.
According to its last set of accounts, Storyful’s accumulated losses jumped from €1.19m at the end of 2011 to €3m at the end of 2012.
“We join News Corp at a moment of transformation. Together, we will combine the authority of premier original content with the authenticity of user-generated content. We will define the opportunities that the digital landscape presents rather than simply adapt to them. Ours will be a powerful and unique partnership,” Mr Little said in a blog posted on Storyful.
“Storyful will continue to operate as a standalone organisation from our headquarters in Dublin...
“We will continue to serve the world’s leading news organisations (with more resources and focus). And we will work with brands, advertisers, non-profits, and other organisations to help them realise the full potential of verified video and other online content.”
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