Bebo owners negotiate to swing SeeSaw deal


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Even though the last rites had been read for SeeSaw, the online TV VOD aggregation service may not yet be in its grave with private equity firm Criterion Capital Partners said to be poised to make a purchase.
According to reports in UK national newspaper the Daily Telegraph, the investment outfit who also owns the Bebo VOD offering are close to adding SeeSaw to its portfolio as it aims to build up a roster of digital TV and film services across Europe.

The over the top (OTT) VOD service offered a variety of content from UK broadcasters ITV and Channel 4. It had also spent £8 million acquiring the assets of BBC Worldwide's ill-fated Project Kangaroo. SeeSaw had run a mixed business model with over 3000 hours' worth of free content plus 1000 hours of paid for material including programmes from MTV and NBC Universal.

Only weeks ago, SeeSaw’s owner Arqiva announced that "As part of an ongoing strategic review of its business activities Arqiva, our parent company, is no longer able to support the service.” SeeSaw was meant to officially close down totally on 20 June. Noticeably this has not been the case.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the CEO of the US investment firm is leading the negotiations, calling upon the expertise of Bebo boss and former Channel 4 chief Michael Jackson to run operations if the deal is successful. The paper quoted ‘a source close to the deal’ saying: “[They] are close to signing the deal to acquire SeeSaw. It’s a good opportunity for them to access the lucrative online TV and film market, which Arqiva have been unable to crack. Arqiva is hoping to finalise the deal by 30 June 30 in time for the end of its financial year.”