When Tom Ryan, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pluto TV, received a term sheet for the acquisition of Pluto TV by Viacom, he knew he had a loyal and experienced partner in his corner with Gunderson Dettmer. Not only had Jeff Higgins and Jonathan Spencer of Gunderson Dettmer been with Tom and the Company from their earliest stages, spanning $50M of venture capital raises and the international expansion of Pluto TV’s platform, Gunderson Dettmer also brought to the table a tremendous amount of experience and expertise in private company mergers and acquisitions and technology matters.

Pluto TV began with the counterintuitive premise of Ilya Pozin, Tom’s co-founder and the company’s Chief Growth Officer, that, in a cord-cutting world, where media companies were clamoring to get into the premium video on demand space, there was a significant opportunity to build an ad-supported over-the-top (OTT) entertainment platform which delivered linear curated content for free. After getting together, Tom and Ilya set out to build a dynamic and fast growing business that would ultimately require them to strategically navigate a complex media landscape where each player constituted a potential partner, customer, investor and competitor simultaneously.

Over the course of Pluto TV’s growth from a contrarian premise into a robust platform that is seamlessly integrated across nearly all major smart TV platforms and video streaming devices, Gunderson Dettmer assisted the Company with the investments, acquisitions and commercial cooperation of key strategic media players such as Sky, Samsung, Scripps Networks and ProSiebenSat.1. So, Tom knew from experience that Gunderson Dettmer would be there for him and the company with the expertise and support, together with the knowledge and familiarity with Pluto TV’s history, business and strategic partners, that would be required to navigate a complicated sale of the company to media giant Viacom.

Following the delivery of Viacom’s offer to acquire Pluto TV, Gunderson Dettmer worked closely with Tom and his team, providing guidance and advocating for them through complex matters and negotiations across the multiple expertise brought to the table by Gunderson Dettmer, including corporate governance, intellectual property, technology, taxes, data privacy and GDPR, employment, compensation and benefits, and international law. When unforeseen twists and forks arose in the road, Tom and the Pluto TV team were able to lean heavily on Gunderson Dettmer to identify and work toward effective solutions. Throughout the entire process, Gunderson Dettmer was present, whether in Los Angeles or New York, ceaselessly supporting Tom and his team, and ultimately enabling Pluto TV to successfully close a deal that everyone involved with Pluto TV would celebrate.

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