GE brightening new media

Adify is first up for $250 mil fund

General Electric is set to announce today its formation of a $250 million equity fund for investments in new-media companies.

The fund — overseen by NBC Universal and GE Media, Communications and Entertainment — already has made its first investment, taking a $3 million stake in Adify, a young company in online advertising.

The fund's investment in Adify comes at a particularly fortuitous time, right after Google said it will pay $3.1 billion for DoubleClick, an Internet advertising firm that was taken private just two years ago for only $1.1 billion. Rumors of that investment, made official Friday, had investors bidding shares of such publicly traded companies as ValueClick, aQuantive and others higher for several weeks.

The GE fund's investment reportedly was part of a larger fund-raising round of $19 million for Adify, which also received money from Time Warner Investments and others.

Adify offers tools and solutions for brands to build and manage their own Internet-based advertising networks that can be built around categories, such as sports or card games, in order to target the correct audience.

The GE Fund reportedly intends on investing from $3 million-$15 million in digital-media companies, perhaps making one or more investment per year.

Naturally, one focus of the fund will be to invest in companies that deliver products useful to NBC Universal. Adify's clients, for example, include NBC Universal, Time Warner, Comcast Corp. and other media companies.

Specific areas of interest include advertising services, international platforms, wireless, digital content and communities.

"In this rapidly changing environment, new technologies and new business models emerge every day," said Beth Comstock, president of integrated media at NBC Universal. "This fund gives us an opportunity to participate in the development of cutting-edge technologies and to help shape the future of our industry."
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