Yahoo May Buy Brightroll in Billion-Dollar Bid to Bolster Video Ad Sales

The 8-year-old San Francisco startup Brightroll helps leading brands target their video ads for the web's biggest video publishers.

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By Geoff Weiss

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Another day, another rumored Yahoo acquisition. But the company's most recent reported bid for Brightroll, an advertising platform, provides a unique window into Marissa Mayer's much-debated strategy for Yahoo's future in online video.

Brightroll acts as an intermediary between advertisers and online video publishers, according to Techcrunch, which first reported the acquisition. The 8-year-old San Francisco startup, which raked in over $100 million last year, works with 85 of the world's 100 biggest advertisers -- such as Ikea, Kellogg and L'Oreal -- to plan, target and optimize online video ad campaigns, whom it then connects with 25 of the web's top 50 video publishers.

Brightroll is a formidable competitor against Google-owned YouTube, and was rated the No. 1 server of video ads to unique viewers by comScore in June. It serves ad content across desktops, mobile devices and connected televisions.

Related: Marissa Mayer: Privacy Fanatics Will Have a Less Awesome Life Online

Techcrunch pegs the purchase price at $725 million, but adds the deal could be worth as much as $1 billion. While that may sound like a flash in the pan for Yahoo -- flush with cash from Alibaba's soaring IPO -- Marissa Mayer's acquisition spree has come under fire from activist investor Starboard Value, which has specifically taken issue with the company's thus-far-unprofitable purchase of Tumblr.

But Tumblr, according to other reports, could soon be key to Yahoo's end vision for online video. While Yahoo has long sought to snatch up popular YouTubers like Bethany Mota and Connor Franta to amp up its own video repertoire, Business Insider suggests that this content could eventually live on Tumblr -- a popular forum for many of the same tweens and teens who are YouTube obsessives.

Brightroll has thus far raised a total of $40.2 million in six funding rounds from investors including Adam Street Partners, True Ventures and Scale Venture Partners.

Related: Yahoo Wants You to Set Up an Ecommerce Shop on Its Revamped Small Biz Platform

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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