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London's Unruly snaps up viral video firm Shareifyoulike

LONDON (Reuters) - Unruly, one of London's hottest tech companies, has made its first acquisition, buying Germany's Shareifyoulike to gain the leading position in viral video marketing in the country.

Unruly and Shareifyoulike work with advertisers and their agencies to create viral campaigns, whereby ads are viewed, shared and talked about on social networks, creating millions of pounds worth of marketing for brand owners.

"Germany is a key market for us, it's the largest advertising economy in Europe," Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood told Reuters in an interview.

"It's also a really important market for social video in particular, there's a real appetite for social video in the German market."

German brands, such as carmaker Volkswagen, an existing Unruly customer, have been at the forefront in social media marketing, she said.

Volkswagen's 'The Force' commercial is still the most successful viral campaign, she said. The ad, which features a boy trying to animate objects using 'The Force" from the Star Wars movies, has been viewed more than 57 million times on YouTube.

Wood declined to give the value of the acquisition, as both companies are private. "But it's a big deal in terms of strategic importance," she said.

Unruly Media, based in London's East End, secured $25 million of funding last year, which it said was the largest ever investment in the social video sector.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by David Cowell)

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