Can’t beat them? Join them. One of the biggest newspaper companies in the world may be trying to get into the Facebook advertising game.
Gannett Co., publisher of USA Today and scores of regional and local newspapers, is reportedly close to announcing a $92 million acquisition of BLINQ Media, which specializes in building technology to boost engagement with ads on Facebook. We didn’t get a response when we reached out to both companies for comment, but, citing anonymous sources, TechCrunch is reporting a purchase agreement has already been signed and a deal could be closed by the end of the month.
The deal comes less than two weeks after BLINQ and two other Facebook ad companies revamped their offerings in a two-day period to take advantage of recently-released Facebook API upgrades that make it easier for brands to track conversions. The new API was announced by the social media giant to balance some of the criticism surrounding the company’s earnings release.
That could explain the big price tag for BLINQ, which had only taken in $3.1 million in funding – none of it from venture capitalists – since it was launched in 2008. The Facebook upgrades, which were announced July 12, are expected to boost revenue considerably for BLINQ, as well as Buddy Media, Nanigans, and SocialCode, the social media marketing and analytics company launched by Gannett rival Washington Post Co.
For Gannett, the deal means it can cross-market ads it sells on its existing online properties with Facebook ad offerings and also open a new revenue stream by tapping directly into Facebook. It’s likely Gannett is also trying to offer the same tracking capability to its online ad offerings that BLINQ is now able to offer to Facebook advertisers.