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Comcast to Acquire FreeWheel for $320M

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It looks like Comcast has a few dollars left over after offering $45 billion for Time Warner Cable: News broke over the weekend that Comcast is close to acquiring online video monetization company FreeWheel for a price of $320 million. An official announcement is expected to come soon.

Well known in the online video world, FreeWheel works with content owners to serve ads on online content. The company is based in Silicon Valley, and works with NBCUniversal, Fox, AOL, Dish, and DirecTV (which is also an investor), among others.

Insiders say that Comcast will run FreeWheel as a standalone unit, as it does thePlatform, which it acquired in 2006. If so, FreeWheel would continue to work with Comcast competitors with no conflict.

This move is part of Comcast's efforts to expand its online video offerings, the Wall Street Journal reported. It notes that Comcast has been a proponent of increasing online access to cable TV programming for subscribers. Having FreeWheel technology in-house will make it easier to monetize that content, and to convince partners of the benefits of offering greater online access.

Last month, FreeWheel announced that it is working with Amazon to deliver ads within search results and within some TV episodes streamed to Kindle Fire tablets.

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