Sizmek closes Rocket Fuel takeover with Mark Grether named CEO

The merger deal appears to have cleared recent legal objections from parties questioning the value it delivers to shareholders / SIzmek

Sizmek’s proposed takeover of Rocket Fuel has been given the all-clear following the closure of the publicly-listed adtech outfit’s opportunity to seek alternative offers, with Mark Grether named chief executive officer.

In a statement announcing the closure of the deal Grether, claimed the renewed focus of the pair would see it combine data enablement, creative optimization and media execution.

“Sizmek’s unique ability to centralize data components in one place, across the entirety of the media plan, combined with Rocket Fuel’s AI-enabled decisioning provides our clients with robust data on the campaign, the consumer, the context, the creative, and the cost,” he added.

Prior to taking the reins at Sizmek, Grether served as its executive chairman after being appointed to the role in February, he was formerly one of the cofounders of WPP’s adtech hub Xaxis, holding the role of chief operating officer while there.

As Grether steps into the new role of president and chief executive officer of Sizmek, Rocket Fuel’s chief Randy Wootton will assume the role special advisor working with both sets of teams throughout the transition period.

The proposed takeover was initially announced in July, and approved by Rocket Fuel's board of director, with the consideration period (a stipulation in the deal) initially slated to close by the end of August, although this was later extended until September 5.

The terms of the deal initially prompted an investigation by law firm Levi & Korsinsky as to whether such a transaction (which saw Vector Capital-backed Sizmek offer $2.60 per share for Rocket Fuel and valued the company at $145m) delivered value for shareholders, although this objection appears to have been resolved.

Needham & Company, LLC served as financial advisor to Rocket Fuel during the process, with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation as its legal advisor during the process. Meanwhile, Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as Sizmek’s legal advisor.

At the time of the initial announcement, the two companies stated: "The proposed combination with Sizmek brings Rocket Fuel's media optimization and industry leading AI-enabled decisioning to Sizmek's omni-channel creative optimization and data activation platform, marking the next logical step in marketing automation."

With over 20,000 advertisers across 3,600 agencies, in over 70 countries, the combined entity will hope to pose as a preferred alternative to the established market leaders – a prospect that has been welcomed among some media buyers.

Commenting on the closure of the deal, Erica Schmidt, Cadreon, managing director, North America, and executive vice president, said: “We are constantly prospecting new ways to reach and impact key audiences.

“The integration of Sizmek and Rocket Fuel will create enhanced product offerings and enable us to truly optimize campaign performance.”

Rocket Fuel was one of the early adtech outfits to trade publicly, listing on the Nasdaq in 2013, and at its heights was valued at $2bn. Although it soon ran into troubles after being embroiled in a high profile ‘bot fraud’ media scandal, which negatively affected its share price, a blow it found difficult to recover from, as indicated by its axing of 11% of its headcount at the start of the year.

This was further negatively impacted with Wall Street investors' dulled enthusiasm for adtech stock, which also enhanced difficulties with such adtech outfits reducing their reliance on I/O-based revenue.

Sizmek, which was formerly listed on the Nasdaq, was itself purchased for $122m by Vector Capital a little over a year ago, in what was one of the early moves in a relatively recent trend of private equity players making moves in the ongoing mergers and acquisitions in adtech.

Search The Drum Jobs

Explore the best jobs in Marketing and Media industries
View all open jobs

Ronan Shields

I'm the digital editor at The Drum, and cover adtech and martech. Prefer news and analysis, over opinion pieces. Current fascination(s) are blockchain and media futures trading; also curious about transhumanism on a personal basis. NYC-based, but really London Irish.

All by Ronan