Vevo, the largest destination for official music videos online, is about to hit the road in search of equity financing in order to fund its international expansion plans, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.
Vevo, which is currently in heavy negotiations to sew up a new distribution contract with Google’s YouTube network, has approached about a dozen of potential investors, including Google itself, Allen & Co., and Guggenheim Partners, executives knowledgeable with the companies confirmed. Guggenheim owns Prometheus Global Media, Billboard's parent company.
The fundraising effort is in its very early stages as meetings are just now being scheduled for the next several weeks. The only discussions that have advanced to the level of dollars and cents has been with Google, which involves the Silicon Valley technology giant paying $50 million for 7% of Vevo, giving Vevo a valuation of roughly $714 million.
Google’s potential investment in Vevo is complicated by the fact that its contract to distribute Vevo’s music videos expires in April. The two are still in the midst of hammering out a deal, one that’s not likely to be signed and sealed for weeks or even months, said sources, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are confidential.
Vevo and Google declined to comment for this story.
Currently, Vevo is owned by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, with a smaller stake owned by Abu Dhabi Media Group. Vevo, however, is looking to raise additional capital that would be put towards building out its technology infrastructure to support its international presence. The company currently gets 75% of its views outside North America, up from less than 10% in 2010. Another area of potential investment for Vevo is mobile and living room devices, such as game consoles and connected TV sets.
But being present on new devices and platforms requires more product development and beefier, and more costly, infrastructure to support the billions of streams Vevo would have to deliver -- money that it’s looking to outside investors to get.