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February 12, 2008 9:19 AM

Yahoo does some buying of its own, scoops up online video provider

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

If Microsoft buys Yahoo, the deal would now come with a shiny new online video platform.

Yahoo today announced the acquisition of Maven Networks, a Cambridge, Mass.-based online video platform provider, for $160 million. Its technology is "used to manage, distribute and monetize premium online video content for over 30 major media companies, including Fox News, Sony BMG, CBS Sports, Hearst, Gannett, Scripps Networks, and the Financial Times" among others.

Yahoo says in this press release that it intends to "expand on the Maven offering with video monetization services allowing publishers to take advantage of Yahoo!'s industry leading display sales force and advanced technologies for delivering consumers more relevant advertising experiences, both of which help them maximize their video advertising dollars."

Maven, founded in 2002, is a competitor of other high-end online video platforms such as Brightcove. U.S. online video advertising is expected to be a $4 billion market by 2011, according to a Forrester estimate cited by Yahoo.

(Update, 10:10 a.m.: A Yahoo spokeswoman says Maven has 70 employees and "we anticipate having them stay on board post acquisition." From the press release, "With this acquisition, Yahoo! has established a Cambridge, MA presence and Maven has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yahoo!.")

Combined with yesterday's acquisition of Danger by Microsoft, a mobile phone software maker, "it doesn't look like either Microsoft or Yahoo are slowing down their VC-backed acquisition pace," wrote Daniel Primack in this morning's PE Week Wire.

Meanwhile, the previously announced layoffs at Yahoo appear to be coming down today. The Wall Street Journal, citing an anonymous source, reports that roughly 1,000 employees are getting layoff notices.

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