Marsh & McLennan Moves on Verance –

Marsh & McLennan Capital Communications & Information Fund (C&I Fund) last month committed an undisclosed amount in Verance Corp., an audio watermarking technology company that services the entertainment, media and wireless communications industries. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“Verance was introduced to us by Constellation Ventures, which was an earlier investor in Verance,” said Bob Fox, a principal at MMC Capital. “One of the professionals on our team knew the professional at Constellation and they showed us the Verance deal.”

San Diego-based Verance Corp.’s technology enables copyright management, royalty distribution, e-commerce, information, marketing and product distribution applications in the entertainment, media, and wireless communications industry. Its revenues were not disclosed.

“The company does a very good job of investing in watermarking companies, which can be used in multiple markets such as music and e-commerce. There is an application of it in tracking advertising and other over-the-air-content in radio and broadcast medium. And there is also the third business, which is still in the research and development phase, of using it to carry information over wireless networks,” said Fox.

Robi Blumenstein, a partner at MMC Capital, said plans for the company includes support for all three of their lines of business and building out a national network that would enable Verance’s technology to verify the playing of over the air content such as promotions, advertisements and other information. “I think they have a good roll-up plan to do that,” he said. “We would also help them explore the use of these technologies in wireless networks for location information and some other services.”

The $80 million C&I Fund was formed last April by Marsh & McLennan Capital Inc. and Mercer Management Consulting. Marsh & McLennan is the sole limited partner of the fund. The fund is co-managed by Blumenstein and Fox and is focused on communications and information companies.

Other communications companies in the firm’s portfolio include Equator Technologies, a semiconductor company that is a provider of programmable Broadband Signal Processors; GlobeRanger Corp., an application service provider that offers wireless asset tracking and supply chain visibility; PeopleStreet, a communications infrastructure company that offers e-business cards and contact information exchange services; and Xelus, which provides planning and e-commerce to Global 1000 organizations in the aviation, telecom, high-tech, rail and utility industries.