Google buys New Zealander's social media marketing company for $US250m
"Brilliant result for Ms Ransom and friends."Featured comment
Google has bought Wildfire Interactive, the social media marketing company founded and run by ex-pat Victoria Ransom.
The Wall Street Journal said this morning that people close to the deal put the price at $US250 million.
The San Francisco-based Ms Ransom was born and raised in New Zealand. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and co-founded an adventure travel business before starting Wildfire four years ago.
Her ownership stake in Wildfire was not immediately clear. The company has received funding from Facebook, according to US media reports. Wildfire's website lists six venture capital investors.
A Facebook spokesman refused to comment to the Journal on the implications of Google – which is pushing its Plus service as a Facebook rival – buying Wildfire.
Google will add Wildfire to its existing stable of ad-serving properties, which includes DoubleClick.
The search engine giant has been looking to buy its way iinto the social media ad buiness, the Journal's AllThingsD blog reports.
According to a Crunchbase profile, Wildfire has raised $US14 million in startup funding since being founded in 2008.
It has 16,000 customers worldwide, including corporate and agency clients who include Facebook, Ogilvy, Amazon, Sony, Pepsi and Target. Wildfire helps the companies market their brands on social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
In a September 2011 interview on Campbell Live, the Manawatu-raised Ms Ransom (then 35) said Wildfire became profitable in its first year, and had grown from seven to 170 employees with a 2012 hiring target of 400.
Facebook offered $200m?
Ex-pat Derek Handley, who had his own big score when The Hyperfactory was sold to US media giant Meredith iin 2010, was quick to relay congratulations – and a Facebook rumour.
"Huge congratulations to Victoria and her team it's an amazing achievement and again shows how fast companies can be built to achieve incredible value in such a short period of time," Mr Handley told NBR ONLINE.
"There was a rumour a few months ago that it would be sold to Facebook – one of Wildfire's very original funders – for about $US200 million," The Hyperfactory co-founder noted.
"For the foreseeable future – five, maybe 10, years – any companies that operate and succeed at the intersection of social, mobile and brand marketing are set up for big things."