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October 17, 2014, Article

Article

MediaPost: MediaMath’s Upcast Buy Adds to Ad Tech M&A Intrigue

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October 16, 2014 – M&A activity in the ad tech space has continued through summer and into fall with MediaMath, a major demand-side platform (DSP), on Thursday announcing its acquisition of Upcast, a social ad tech platform. MediaMath positions the move as one that sets them up to help clients take advantage of advertising on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms.

Upcast is a UK-based company and is a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer and Twitter Marketing Platform Partner. Per a release, “the acquisition expands upon MediaMath’s current social offerings via the Facebook Exchange (FBX) and Twitter Tailored Audiences solutions.”

In the “build, buy, partner” debate, ad tech companies seem increasingly content with buying to round out or otherwise add to their “tech stacks.” I touched on this topic in an RTBlog just one week ago, but I wanted to expound upon it here.

Twitter recently announced the full integration of Namo’s native ad technology into its tech stack following its acquisition of Namo in June. AOL made use of Convertro’s consumer tracking tech by making it the centerpiece of a new data management platform (DMP). Rocket Fuel is expected to integrate [x+1]’s marketing technology by the end of 2014, while Google still has Adometry and Epsilon still has Conversant, to name a few.

Similarly, it’s still unknown exactly how Facebook intends to use LiveRail, the programmatic video ad platform it bought this summer. We do know that Facebook has an opportunity to do something big, however: News broke (via Beet.TV) earlier this week that Facebook has surpassed YouTube when it comes to desktop video views.

Millennial Media, a mobile ad firm, acquired mobile ad exchange Nexage for $107.5 million in late September in what appears to be an attempt to pivot from “network” to “exchange” to become more ad tech-like.

But it’s not just ad tech companies investing in more ad tech — some of the largest holding companies in the world are heavily involved in the space, whether it be through the use of programmatic buying platforms or through investments.

In the past month alone, we’ve seen WPP boost its stake in ad exchange AppNexus to 15%, an investment worth $25 million, and Publicis Groupe invest a healthy $65 million in Matomy, a company that has a supply-side platform (SSP) for video advertising.

Following the recent spat of M&A activity in the ad tech space, we are beginning to see how the acquirers are applying their purchases to their own “stacks,” but new seeds continue to be planted.

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