UK-based United News & Media has acquired a $30m stake in Creative Planet, a web-based entertainment industry resource backed by several high-profile venture capital firms.
In a related deal, United will merge The Knowledge, its own UK-based creative services business, into the Creative Planet fold. In return, United receives a significant (but unstated) equity share in Creative Planet Inc. and will act as its exclusive UK and Ireland sales and marketing agent, and lead agent in Europe. The deal calls for joint development of international ventures online and offline.
The investment continues United's strategic shift this year to focus on electronic information and its related technologies. As well as various broadcast assets, the company owns CMP, a business-to-business publishing company; PR Newswire, a leading distributor of corporate news; and market research company UIG. It divested nearly $4bn in assets this summer, including its interest in UK broadcast network ITV, which it sold to Granada Media for $2.65bn.
Privately-held Creative Planet is backed by Chase Capital Partners, Waterview Advisors, Paine Webber Capital, SunAmerica Investments, and most recently, Times Mirror Chandler Trust Ventures, which lead a $38m financing round in August. Creative Planet clients include the CBS, NBC and Fox TV networks and studios DreamWorks, MGM and Paramount as well as advertising agencies J. Walter Thompson and McCann Erickson.