How M&A Waves Reshaped Programmatic Media In 2021 – AdExchanger

The previous yr might have appeared like 2020 redux.
But in programmatic media, 2021 has introduced a world of change.
Ad tech and cell advertising firms flooded the inventory change, and already-public firms, together with Magnite, Digital Turbine and Media and Games Invest (MGI), which owns the advert tech enterprise Verve Group, have turn out to be energetic consolidators.
AdExchanger took a take a look at a number of the offers and classes that fueled an M&A frenzy this yr.
Legacy SSPs have been on years-long consolidation sprees.
Last yr, Rubicon Project and Telaria merged to type Magnite. In 2021, that momentum continued with a $1.17 billion deal for SpotX, which was beforehand owned by the European broadcaster RTL Group, and a $31 million acquisition of the TV and video advert server SpringServe.
The billion-dollar SpotX valuation is quadruple what RTL paid for the corporate in 2017.

Tremor Video has been on an M&A journey as effectively. The firm offered its supply-side enterprise Telaria to pre-Magnite Rubicon Project, and the remainder of the enterprise went to Taptica, which was later renamed Tremor. Before the rebrand, Taptica purchased advert change RhythmOne for $176 million. Last yr, the newly fashioned Tremor bought SSP Unruly from News Corp.
This yr, the corporate acquired Spearad, a CTV advert server.
Historically, DSPs and SSPs have been stored separate from advert server companies. Ad servers are the supply of reconciliation knowledge, which means they resolve whether or not advertisements have been served or seen and whether or not advertisers ought to pay for an impression. Although walled gardens can usually get away with bundling an advert server and grading their very own homework, open programmatic firms usually couldn’t.
But SSPs want an advert server for CTV.
Television campaigns are deliberate weeks upfront and require extra sophisticated ad-serving choices. Brands with upfront offers might have assured charges, whereas different manufacturers might have been assured attain amongst a sure demographic, say, 18 to 35-year-old males in Chicago.
An advert server turns into a crucial element for the SSP and change to know whether or not to bid programmatically or default to a direct assured deal.
“We consider video is powerful sufficient to place our efforts into that one aspect,” Tremor CEO Ofer Druker instructed AdExchanger final yr. “We’re spending all of our sources there and considering two or three years forward, after I suppose we’ll look again and say this was clearly the successful format.”
The verification distributors
Ad verification firms, which decide whether or not advertisements have been viewable, model protected and seen by people quite than bots, have been consolidators as effectively.
DoubleVerify IPO’d in April of this yr and some months later acquired German verification and measurement startup Meetrics. In November, DoubleVerify dropped $150 million to purchase OpenSlate, a contextual concentrating on firm.
Integral Ad Science went public in June following its acquisition of programmatic funds auditing service Amino Payments earlier within the yr. After hitting the general public market and including money to its steadiness sheet, IAS dropped $220 million to purchase Publica, a CTV advert server and advert shopping for firm. Last month, IAS closed its third acquisition of the yr for the contextual promoting firm ADmantX.
IAS’s acquisition of Publica was one of many extra fascinating offers of the yr – not as a result of it was a big transaction, however as a result of Publica really buys advertisements. For the primary time, an advert verification firm owns a enterprise that buys media, setting the stage for probably awkward situations if IAS verification knowledge is used to find out the worth of Publica-served campaigns.
Last up, bonus factors for Human, previously White Ops, a fraud and verification firm that was acquired by Goldman Sachs in December 2020.
Content advice consolidation
Taboola and Outbrain, the 2 leaders in content material advice, first began doing the merger dance in 2019, with plans to mix into one dominant participant within the class. In 2020, that deal was kiboshed, partly associated to issues from the British competitors regulator.
Not to let moss develop, each firms went public in July of this yr.
Outbrain raised $160 million for its IPO, a few of which it spent to accumulate Swiss contextual video promoting startup Video Intelligence AG in November.Following its personal IPO, Taboola made a splashy $800 million acquisition of Connexity, a frontrunner in ecommerce online marketing.
Performance advertising
The bounty hunters of the cell business have additionally been shopping for up scale and full-funnel capabilities this yr to assist set off the whole lot from app installs, subscriptions and purchases to flights, journey bookings and resort stays.
System1 introduced its intention to go public this yr by way of SPAC, merging with an already-public shell firm, on this case owned by the well-known financier Bill Foley.
But System1 was already an aggressive acquirer earlier than its proposed SPAC merger. The firm owns a set of early web media belongings: MapQuest,, HowStuffWorks and CarsGenius. Earlier this month, it acquired RoadWarrior, a route-planning app.
The cell acquisition firm ironSource, nevertheless, had maybe the busiest yr of M&A. The firm IPO’d in June with a SPAC merger after buying in-app monetization analytics startup Soomla and artistic developer product Luna Labs. Following its IPO, ironSource closed back-to-back offers in October for app monetization firms Bidalgo and Tapjoy.
Although Digital Turbine IPO’d in 2014, it was one other six years earlier than its subsequent acquisition, which was for the cell telco knowledge firm Mobile Posse. But this yr the deal making has been breakneck.
Digital Turbine spent $400 million to choose up AdColony; $22.5 million for in-app personalization tech supplier Triapodi (also called Appreciate) and $600 million for app monetization platform Fyber, the “cherry on high” of Digital Turbine’s overarching advert tech technique.
Mobile sport on
Mobile sport builders have begun to monetize their networks and consumer bases extra like walled gardens – with first-party knowledge and self-reported metrics similar to gross sales or installs.
The pioneer within the class is AppLovin. In 2020, AppLovin made waves with its acquisition of Machine Zone, a serious sport developer. This yr, AppLovin added to its advert tech arsenal with two offers value roughly $1 billion a chunk: cell measurement firm Adjust in February and a stunning transfer in October to take cell advert change MoPub off Twitter’s palms.
AppLovin additionally went public this yr.
But it’s not the one energetic acquirer combining cell video games and advert tech.
German holding firm MGI created an advert tech subsidiary referred to as Verve Group in 2020 after shopping for location knowledge firm Verve.
In January 2021, Verve Group acquired cell video advert platform LKQD from Nexstar. In July, Verve Group snapped up Smaato for $170 million. The DSP Match2One was added to the combo in October.

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