Cisco’s recently formed Media Solutions Group (CMSG) is exiting stealth mode with its first acquisition: Five Across, a vendor of white label social networks for media companies, sports leagues, and affinity groups. Clients include the National Hockey League, which has emphasized social networking of late. No terms are being disclosed; the company and its 11 employees will be integrated into CMSG, which is headed by Dan Scheinman, an SVP with a background in M&A. Founded in 2003, Five Across is based in San Francisco. The deal is expected to close in the Cisco quarter ending April 27.
The Five Across platform is known as Connect Community Builder; it provides all the bells and whistles branded for the company, league or group.
Cisco claims more that half of U.S. internet households connect through equipment from either Cisco’s Scientific Atlanta or Linksys. The company also has a strong record in delivering information. Now Cisco wants to add “discovery” by providing ways for people to connect to each other. The company plans more acquisitions in the social network area. The goal is to partner with media companies and communities, not to create a Cisco social network brand although “powered by Cisco” could start showing up. Eventually, Cisco could package a router or set-top with the social network platform.
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