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Private equity saves SeeSaw

Michael Jackson put in charge. Woooo.

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The upending of SeeSaw has been cancelled. Owner Arqiva today announced it had flogged off 75 per cent of the online video-on-demand service.

Arqiva will retain 25 per cent of the company, the rest going to a group of venture capitalists, private equity punters and merchant bankers.

SeeSaw will be overseen by Michael Jackson, not the late popular musician, not the gruff-voiced military commander, nor even the real ale champion, but the former head of BBC Two and of Channel 4. Jackson joins SeeSaw as company Chairman.

SeeSaw launched in February 2010, formed after Arqiva, the company that maintains the UK's terrestrial broadcasting infrastructre, acquired the technical assets of 'Project Kangaroo' the previous year.

Kangaroo was a joint BBC, ITV and C4 endeavour to create a standard catch-up TV platform, but was killed by the competition watchdog. While Arqiva was using Kangaroo tech top build SeeSaw, the broadcasters created 'Project Canvas', later renamed YouView, to create a standard catch-up TV platform.

Arqiva also joined YouView. Come January 2011, it was seeking a buyer for SeeSaw. A credible offer failed to materialise, and Arqiva announced SeeSaw's closure in May.

The service was to have shut at the end of June, but has tenaciously hung on. Just as well, as with a new owner comes a new lease of life. Maybe. In all their words of praise for SeeSaw's technology, none of its new owners said how they plan to grow its customer base and content portfolio. ®

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