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Microsoft gets deeper undercover with the Nine Network

Shades of spooks as JV renamed Mi9

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Microsoft has moved closer to its joint venture partner Nine Entertainment Co, launching a new overarching brand, Mi9, which tips in their aligned digital assets.

The move effectively quashes residual speculation that the long standing Ninemsn joint venture may be unravelling as the Nine Entertainment group moves towards an IPO.

The new corporate brand will be officially launched in early 2012, but the Ninemsn consumer brand will be retained for the online portal.

The new Mi9 group will include 80 brands' Australian presence, including Ninemsn, Hotmail, Messenger, Bing, Cudo, iSelect, RateCity, the Microsoft Media Network (MMN), Xbox and the newly launched Microsoft Advertising Exchange. In 2012 Skype advertising will be included in the group offering.

The new face of the Ninemsn JV is an attempt to revitalise its advertising proposition across its various digital properties

If and when the Nine Entertainment Co IPO happens, it remains to be seen where the group’s stronger performing assets such as Cudo and iSelect will remain in the JV portfolio or be split out into distinct assets.

Mi9 CEO Mark Britt said “we are evolving our corporate and trade brand to reflect the full scope of what we now offer, while keeping with the heritage of Microsoft and Nine. We believe the next phase of digital advertising will be defined by the marriage of two things ­ imagination plus intelligence.”

Britt’s "intelligence" referred to its technology and investment platforms, but one is reminded of the original MI9, which was Section 9 of the British Military Intelligence. ®

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