From this side of the Atlantic, you can almost see what could have been a huge win for French startups – Tumblr’s been purchased for $1.1 Billion and, while no one’s sure whether Yahoo! will make a Flickr out of Tumblr, or a Tumblr out of Flickr, the fact remains that Dailymotion has been left on the sidelines; however, Dailymotion isn’t done with receiving bids from suitors just yet. Orange CEO Stéphane Richard said on RTL that the company is ready to pump another 30-50 million euros (on top of the $168 Million it has already put into the video site) before looking for another international partner.
A series of events that remind us a bit too much of the Iliad, suitors are lining up to get a grab at the leftovers from Yahoo’s meal. CCM-Benchmark, a large French media conglomerate built from a merger of CommentCaMarche and Benchmark Group, which controls news sites, photos sites, and community-oriented properties, stated in an interview in Challenges[fr] that it is interested in purchasing Dailymotion, and that “the Prime Minister is aware of our intentions” – I guess they made sure that government officials wouldn’t block their deal before they got started.
Xavier Niel, owner of Free, and investor in Vivendi, LeMonde, Mediapart, and much more, has stated he is interested in the deal; however, I believe Niel is getting close to owning as much of the French economy as the government, so we’ll have to see if the government is willing to play ball with him.
Orange has clearly stated that they are looking for an international partner, and while CCM-Benchmark has audiences in the US, I doubt that it has the audience size that Richard is looking for. He stated earlier this month that he had already held meetings with Amazon, Apple, Microsoft & Facebook – this makes his visit out to the Silicon Valley for the Orange Fab announcement a little clearer – however, given their most recent announcement of a new injection of cash into Dailymotion, it would seem that none of the post-Yahoo meetings have been fruitful.
In the end, what’s really hurting Orange the most is, well, Orange. They arguably got a bad break with Yahoo because of the French Government – that’s a given. And yet, perhaps the terms of the deal wouldn’t have been nearly as aggressive if Orange hadn’t spent 18 months announcing publicly that it was looking for an American company to take Dailymotion off its hands. Yahoo reads the papers, and they knew that Orange needed them just a little more than they needed Dailymotion, and they ran with it. Now, with the Yahoo deal down & out – though Yahoo never confirmed the deal itself – it is clear that Dailymotion is yesterday’s acquisition target, and any American buyer will know that for the next 6-12 months, Dailymotion is on sale. Let’s hope someone preps Montebourg before the next deal comes to the table, or he might be surprised to see the price tag slashed.