How to lose £8 million in three years – buy Yospace


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We all know that Mobile can be  a volatile area, it’s new and there’s no guarantees that anything will work. So it’s no surprise that we learn from the Telegraph.co.uk that mobile video content platform Yospace was sold by publisher Bauer for just £1, three years after being bought for at least £8 million in 2007.

Back in 2007 Yospace was a big name in mobile, and it attracted a lot of attention and more importantly it attracted publishers Emap who bought Yospace for anything from  £8 million to over £14 million. However it’s current owners Bauer – they bought the part of Emap that owned Yospace – have now off loaded the company for a pitiful £1 to “private investors.” Presumably “private investors” who were rich-enough to have £1 rolling around in the spare change draw, and who found it in an unwanted corner of Poundland.

According to the Telegraph.co.uk: “Bauer provided no detail on why it had chosen to dispose of the businesses but said both decisions were made after a thorough review. It said the Yospace disposal would not have ‘a material impact on the company.’”

Back in 2007  the “mobile applications innovator and platform provider” was at it’s height. It was powering See Me TV for 3 and the Look at Me brand for O2. The model was uploading videos from the general public, which could then be shared with 3 and O2 user and any resulting download revenues split between the operators. It was hoped that Emap could use the platform to do the same for their readers. Unfortunately it just never happened, and FHM, Q, Heat, and Empire readers were happier just filming their videos and shoving them on FaceBook and YouTube, where their friends could see them for free, rather than digging deep through O2 and 3’s portals and then paying through the nose to O2 and 3 for the downloads.

It’s quite fun to look at what was said at the time, here’s Dharmash Mistry, MD of Emap Performance, spin from 2007;

“We are delighted to acquire the innovative team and technology behind the See Me TV and Look At Me TV brands. Coupled with Emap’s marketing reach, brands, content and industry relationships, this strategic move parachutes us to the forefront of the emerging mobile user generated and video content market.”

and this is what Tim Sewell, CEO of Yospace, said back then:

“Being part of Emap will enable Yospace to accelerate product development and new services, and deliver enhanced support to our customers in the mobile operator space globally.”

ooops!!! The final cost of the original Emap Yospace deal was to be decided based on revenues up to March 2010, and interestingly that’s when the £1 deal was done.