Ted Farnsworth, the U.S. financier who set in motion the meteoric rise of MediaPass, and early TikTok investor Jaeson Ma, are behind a pair of moves which could create a new stock market-listed short video empire.
Zash Global Media, which is backed by Farnsworth, Ma and Vincent Butta, have agreed plans to acquire Lomotif, a Singapore-based music video sharing firm. That deal is being coordinated with the reverse merger of Zash Media into NASDAQ-listed Vinco Ventures.
Their pitch is that Zash-Vinco will become a pure-play social video firm that can be compared with the Bytedance-owned TikTok, the NASDAQ-listed Bilibili, or Kuaishou, the direct competitor of TikTok’s sister operation Douyin in mainland China. Loss-making Kuaishou recently listed in Hong Kong and saw its shares triple inside a month, giving it a current market valuation of $190 billion.
The terms of Zash’s acquisition of Lomotif were not disclosed. Nor was Lomotif’s monthly average users (MAU) base, a standard measure of scale in tech. Instead, it said that Lomotif has been accessed by 160 million lifetime viewersand 120 million lifetime creators. It currently boasts upwards of 300 million video views per month, mostly in Asia, and average engagement of more than 90 minutes.
Vinco, previously known as Edison Nation, has a handful of media ventures including Honey Badger Media and social influencer Pop Nation. But these days it positions itself as an acquisition vehicle somewhere a SPAC and a shell company. Its current market capitalization is less than $5 million. But the acquisitions would enlarge it, and the proposed three-way deal would see Zash backers become Vinco’s controlling shareholders, and Zash and Lomotif become Vinco’s predominant components.
“Lomotif is the key piece of the Zash strategy to merge the best-in-class media, entertainment and content-focused technology companies globally,” said Farnsworth in a statement. “The platform is fun and engaging and its features are unique and innovative. We look forward to expanding the platform in the U.S. market and around the rest of the world.” Lomotif founder and CEO Paul Yang is expected to stay on to lead Lomotif upon completion of the acquisition
“Having had experience building another video-sharing social networking platform, it became quickly apparent that Lomotif’s patented technology for mixing and video editing is second to none,” said Butta, a Triller board member. “Zash will focus Lomotif on an advertising model going forward, as well as other means of monetization over the next several months.”
“Lomotif is a global platform with tremendous following in Asia and Latin America and together with Zash, it will replicate that success in the US and other markets,” said Ma. “In today’s world of mass consumption of short-form content, we see Lomotif’s addition to the Zash family as an incredible opportunity to leverage our content in all formats and broaden our distribution platform worldwide.”
A close associate of MC Hammer, Ma is a musical artist and serial entrepreneur who headed East West Ventures and founded 88 Rising. He also co-founded Stampede Ventures with Greg Silverman.
Investment bank BTIG represented Zash on the buy side of the transaction. Palladium Capital served as advisor on the capital raise to fund the transaction. The media and entertainment team led by Tom K. Ara and including Patrick Anding at law firm DLA Piper LLP negotiated and advised Zash on the Lomotif deal and are also advising Zash in its merger with Vinco. Cooley LLP represented Lomotif in the transaction.