Strategic deal has ad tech biz in FIM fold

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NEW YORK -- To optimize its online advertising performance, News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media unit has acquired interactive advertising technology firm Strategic Data Corp. in the first major deal led by Peter Levinsohn, who took over as FIM president in December.

The companies didn't disclose financial terms of the transaction. Industry talk suggested that FIM could pay as much as about $100 million if Strategic Data hits certain performance milestones over time. But sources said the fixed initial price tag is much lower than that.

Strategic Data CEO Richard Janssen will stay in place and run the operation.

"SDC will enable us to realize the full potential of our massive online network," said Levinsohn, whose FIM includes MySpace, IGN Entertainment, RottenTomatoes and other Web properties. "SDC's expert team and technologies, combined with our own top-notch engineers and vast audience, will enable us to ensure the optimal performance of our advertising for the benefit of clients and consumers alike."

News Corp. executives, including president and COO Peter Chernin, also have emphasized in recent months that FIM is focused on improving its monetization of online ads. Performance-based advertising is sought after by marketers looking to get as much bang for their buck as possible.

Santa Monica-based Strategic Data's proprietary yield-optimization technology is designed to optimize the delivery of online advertising by selecting when and where to show marketing messages to maximize profitability. The firm's client list has included "a variety of large online properties and networks," according to its Web site.

FIM said the technology will allow it to provide highly targeted, performance-based advertising "on literally billions of Web pages viewed each day across (our) growing network," which it added reaches more than 135 million worldwide unique visitors a month. It is the most-viewed online network in the U.S., with more than 40 billion pages viewed each month, according to comScore MediaMetrix data.

"We couldn't be more pleased to join the Fox Interactive Media family," Janssen said. "FIM is truly innovating how brands reach consumers in a socially networked world."

Before joining Strategic Data, Janssen was president of Janssen & Associates, a private investment and strategic planning company. Before that, he co-founded Homestore.com and served as its president and COO. Previously, he co-founded Delphi Information Systems and served as CEO of that insurance software firm.
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