Microsoft today announced that they are selling their 50% stake in Ninemsn online venture which was formed back in 1997. As part of the agreement, Nine’s new venture Mi9 will continue to maintain the ninemsn site and whereby Mi9 will continue to represent Microsoft’s suite of advertising products on ninemsn. This is not a surprise move from Microsoft given that they are looking to offload media assets like MSN around the world. Last year in the US, Microsoft ended similar partnership with NBC for MSNBC website.
Read full press release below.
Sydney, Australia: Nine Entertainment Co (NEC) CEO David Gyngell today announced that terms had been agreed with Microsoft to acquire its 50% share of Mi9 (ninemsn Pty Ltd). “From 1 November, NEC will take control of Mi9. This agreement will see Mi9 continue to provide market leading digital solutions to Australian consumers and advertisers,” he said.
As part of the arrangement, Microsoft has signed a long term strategic partnership agreement, whereby Mi9 will continue to represent Microsoft’s suite of advertising products, while leveraging their world leading technology, data, insights and innovation.
“This agreement allows NEC to retain the key elements of our almost two decade strategic partnership with Microsoft. It strengthens the platform for NEC’s growing digital video business and ultimately allows us to control 100% of our digital future,” Mr. Gyngell said.
“Mi9 is a true leader in Australia’s digital marketplace and we’re confident in the company’s continued success,” said Axel Steinman, Vice President for Emerging Markets, Microsoft Advertising. “Our strategic partnership agreement will see the continuation of our strong relationship with Mi9 and NEC well into the future,” he said.
Established in 1997 as ninemsn, a 50-50 joint venture between NEC and Microsoft, Mi9’s collective properties such as news.ninemsn.com.au and have been embraced by up to 12 million Australians each month. This is alongside the nearly 400,000 Australians who have downloaded and interact with Mi9 and Nine’s second screen app Jump-in.
“I’m pleased to confirm that Mark Britt will continue as CEO of Mi9. Mark is a talented leader who has overseen the transformation of Mi9’s offering to make it one of Australia’s leading digital companies with its own distinct culture. His commitment to Mi9’s people and values has also positioned the company as an employer of choice. As we move into this next phase for Mi9, I’m delighted that Mark will continue to lead the business into the future,” Mr. Gyngell said.
“ninemsn and Mi9 have been a critical part of NEC’s digital business for many years. With the continued convergence of TV and digital, I’m incredibly excited to be able to be able to leverage NEC’s extraordinary entertainment offering and our continued relationship with Microsoft to be the digital partner of choice for our users and clients,” said Mark Britt, CEO Mi9.
“This is an exciting time for us at Mi9. NEC has always been a fantastic shareholder, so this is business as usual for us. Our commitment to our audience, users, advertisers and employees remains the same,” he said.