Ad tech's consolidation kicks off in earnest in 2016 with $45m Heyzap deal

The year is barely a week old, but has already played host to two significant purchases in the ad tech/martech sector following on from a 2015 that was crammed with similar transactions.

Berlin-based RNTS Media, the parent company of Fyber, has completed the purchase of fellow mobile ad outfit Heyzap in a $45m deal that announced the opening of a much anticipated flurry of big ticket ad tech purchases this year.

The purchase of San Francisco-based Heyzap will accelerate the growth of Germany-based Fyber, a company that helps mobile app developers generate ad revenue by aggregating buyer demand, in the US, bringing its combined monthly audience to in excess of 500 million.

The newly combined offering also claims that its enhanced presence will benefit both media buyers as the number of apps they can buy media on with the platform reaches 7,600, with customised ad management tools, such as exchange-based trading using real-time bidding (RTB).

The deal consists of an initial cash consideration of $20m, with potential earn-out payments for Heyzap employees in cash and shares of up to $25m upon achievement of certain performance targets next year.

Fyber – formerly known as SponsorPay – was purchased by RNTS Media in October 2014 in a deal reputedly worth over $150m. Both purchases by the Berlin-based outfit stand out among the many ad tech purchases in the last two years given that it was an European outfit purchasing a US one (historically the Dollars, or Euros, have been moving in the opposite direction).

This deal was later followed by RNTS' purchase of Falk Realtime in April last year, a deal that brought it both an SSP and an ad server. Andreas Bodczek, RNTS Media, CEO, said, his outfit was eager to play a proactive role in the ongoing consolidation in the ad tech, and martech sector.

He added: “As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to gather pace, we are dedicated to ensuring Fyber remains well positioned to support developers with monetisation products. We will continue to execute on this strategy in the coming year.”

With 2016 barely a week old, the RNTS deal is the second of purchase of the year in the ad tech/martech sector with Oracle earlier announcing its purchase of AddThis, a publisher personalisation outfit in a play to further its Oracle Data Cloud offering.

This followed a host of purchased in the same industry sector at the close of last year which was rounded off by GroupM's purchase of The ExchangeLab for an undisclosed sum, a deal with gives the media investment behemoth a preferred source of inventory supply.

With data-led marketing, and programmatic media buying in particular currently en vogue, the ad tech outfits have never been in more demand. This year in particular has been earmarked as a pivotal period in the sector, especially as many ad tech outfits are reputed to be reaching the lower echelons of their initial funding, and eager for a buyer.

Luma Partner's Terry Kawaja, an influential finance broker in the ad tech space, has mapped the majority of these companies in the ad tech ecosystem, and placed them together in a graphic he call the "Lumascape" (see image top).

Speaking at last year's Dmecxo, he told attendees he believes that few companies in the ad tech/martech milieu will sell for sums in excess of $100m, with 'only four-or-five' outfits in the sector (think Google, etc.) actually having enough liquidity to be aggressive in the field (see video below).

Ronan Shields

I cover digital media trading and martech for The Drum magazine, plus I write my own opinion pieces, I don't really commission them.

All by Ronan