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Exclusive: Ad Network NetworkPlay Acquired By Bertelsmann’s Gruner + Jahr

Update: Sidharth Rao, CEO of Webchutney, has confirmed that the deal is done.

Earlier: NetworkPlay, a Capital18 and Webchutney backed company which operates a digital ad network, and publishes a digital marketing site imediaconnection.in* and organizes Ad:Tech in India in partnership with dmg events, has been acquired by Gruner + Jahr, a media company which is a part of Germany’s Bertelsmann group. Networkplay founder Rammohan Sundaram declined to confirm or deny the development, although the buzz around NetworkPlay being acquired by Bertelsmann has been around for months now. It’s a 100% buyout, and the company, we’re told, has been valued at around $8-10 million.

Hamburg, Germany based Gruner + Jahr is the publishing division of German media major Bertelsmann, and has around 285 print titles in 22 countries. According to its website, as of December 31st 2010, it had 13337 employees and revenues of EUR 2.5 billion for the fiscal year 2010. Bertelsmann also has a presence in India through a joint venture that Reliance Broadcast Network Limited (RBNL) with its entertainment network RTL.

Networkplay was founded by a team of ex-Yahoo India employees, Rammohan Sundaram, Sunil Punjabi, Ampreet Singh and Viren Anand, and incubated in 2008. The venture was incubated by WebChutney, and funded by Capital18. The company has around 30 employees in three offices – Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. It was fairly late into the ad network game, after Ozone Media, Komli, Ad Magnet (what happened to them?) and a few others, and among these, the first to be bought.

More when we have more.

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*Disclosure: imediaconnection covers digital marketing, and hence competes with MediaNama

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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