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In typical theatrical fashion of a media giant, Ross Levinsohn, of Fox Interactive Media, announces a mysterious acquisition of one of 32 startups presenting at the Under the Radar conference. Its also starts what could be one of Web 2.0 industry’s biggest “Whoissit?” treasure hunts this year. This is huge, and marks the validation of one of Old Media’s giants stepping into the Internet industry again to make investments after the mammoth acquisition of MySpace last year under a $580 million buyout of MySpace’s parent company.
This announcement comes hot on the steps of this Newsweek article by Rupert Murdoch’s address of NewsCorp shareholders. Internet might seem like the new predator snapping away at Old Media channels, but fundamentally, like Rupert Murdoch mentioned at the end of the article, the demand for content of humans is insatiable. Business models will crash and evolve and the earlier media companies realize that nothing has changed fundamentally in consumer needs, we will witness more acquisitions of Web 2.0 startups, particularly those functioning as B2C media intermediaries.
I had been critical of Under The Radar previously. It was priced exorbitantly and outside of my reach, despite the impressive lineup of speakers and startups. However, i have to concede it was perhaps a showcase of Web 2.0 to investors and angels who were looking to get a crash course into a piece of this new mojo stirring in Silicon Valley. And its all true now. Ross Levinsohn may have triggered many investors into action today and he might just have started a tsunami of M&A action involving Web 2.0 startups.
More on NewsCorp’s New Media overtures are found here.
And how can Techcrunch miss out on the guessing game? In fact, Mike Arrington can be credited for starting it. Updates and guesses here.