This morning, Limelight Networks announced they have acquired privately held Delve Networks, a SaaS based online video platform (OVP) provider, in a mostly cash and small equity transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but I have learned that Limelight valued Delve at about $10M. While the acquisition won’t add much in the way of top-line revenue to Limelight, it does give the company a crucial piece of software to help enterprise customers manage their video assets and also gives Limelight a video analytics component.
Delve Networks was founded in 2006 and since that time, had raised just under $10M in venture capital. The Limelight deal includes an earn out component for Delve based on meeting certain revenue targets so there is a chance that Delve’s investors may break even on the deal. With so many online video platforms (OVPs) in the space and the market not being large enough to support them all, more deals like this are inevitable. While OVPs play a crucial role in the market, there simply isn’t enough business to support the dozens of vendors all trying to help companies solve the problem of video ingestion, transcoding, management, monetization and tracking.
Delve’s CEO & Co-founder Alex Castro will stay on with Limelight as VP and GM of video platform solutions and Delve’s 22 employees will stay in Seattle and now become Limelight’s official office in that region. In addition to the technology, Limelight also now controls some unique patents granted to Delve pertaining to video search and speech recognition and Limelight greatly expands their engineering team since most of Delve’s 22 employees were on the engineering side.
For Limelight, this is a smart deal and one that I expect we’ll see them do more of. They have made two acquisitions in the past eight months and I expect
we’ll see one or two more deals of this size, probably having to do with site acceleration and analytics, before the year is up. While Delve was not doing a lot of revenue, they did have 100 120 customers and once they get integrated into Limelight’s infrastructure, Delve’s largest CAPEX cost gets reduce and their margins soar. Similar to Limelight’s recent purchase of EyeWonder, Limelight should be able to see Delve’s offerings have margins of more than 70%.
This is a really crucial time in the market for Limelight Networks and I consider 2010 to be a make or break year for the company. If they can continue to sell more value add services with higher margins and penetrate the enterprise vertical with more wins, the company has a chance at being profitable by the end of the year, thanks in large part to EyeWonder’s high-margin revenue. The company has not been able to show a lot in the way of revenue growth over the past 5-6 quarters, so deals like this make be just what the company needs to get their business going again.
As a result of Limelight focusing on more non-CDN services, it’s also interesting to note that I am hearing about companies who would not have though about potentially acquiring Limelight a year ago now keeping a closer eye on the company. While it has always been speculated that Limelight would some day be acquired by a telco, if they continue to move to being more of a SaaS provider, it probably wouldn’t be a telco that ends up taking them out of the market. (I’ll give out more details on this shortly and name some of the companies I think may be a fit in a longer post I am working on about Limelight’s business.)