Gannett Closes Deal for Social-Marketing Firm Blinq Media

Pact Connects Blinq With Gannett Ad Sales Team, Marketer Contacts

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Gannett, the owner of newspapers including USA Today, has acquired Blinq Media, a company that helps place ads on Facebook, in a bet that marketing on social networks is no passing fad. The deal makes Blinq part of Gannett Digital Marketing Services, which includes the online circular business ShopLocal and the rich-media ad company PointRoll. Terms were not disclosed.

Dave Williams
Dave Williams

Blinq helps advertisers and ad agencies optimize ad-buying on social platforms, primarily Facebook. That's an area that Gannett had determined represented a hole in its portfolio of products and services for advertisers, both local marketers trying to expand their reach and large advertisers trying to target people locally, the company said today.

"We want to be the leader in local social marketing," said Vikram Sharma, CEO of Gannett Digital Marketing Services.

Gannett had been working in recent months to identify the right acquisition target , talking to Blinq and its competitors as well as advertisers, partners and even Facebook, according to Jack Williams, president of Gannett Digital Ventures.

Blinq CEO Dave Williams said his company accepted Gannett's offer instead of raising a round of venture capital because it connects Blinq with Gannett's large sales organization and expansive advertiser contact list, assets that would take years to build up alone. Mr. Williams also avoided diluting his stake in the company, which was large because Blinq had only raised about $3 million to date, from Mr. Williams and a handful of advisors, friends and family. Mr. Williams was previously a cofounder of 360i.

TechCrunch reported earlier this month that Gannett was planning to buy Blinq.

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