More adtech M&A as DoubleVerify sells majority stake to Providence Equity Partners

Media reports citing sources familiar with the deal peg the deal at $200m

Digital measurement outfit DoubleVerify has agreed to sell a majority stake to private equity fund Providence Equity Partners in the latest round of adtech mergers and acquisitions.

Former Starcom Mediavest Group chief executive Laura Desmond is set to join DoubleVerify's board as part of the deal.

The terms of the transaction have not been publicly disclosed by either party, but media reports have pegged the financial value of the deal at $200m. The DoubleVerify management team is set to continue in its existing guise once the transaction has been closed, with Desmond having been appointed lead director of its board.

Wayne Gattinella, president and chief executive of DoubleVerify said Providence Equity has demonstrated an ability to help accelerate the growth of data-led adtech companies.

"With Providence's sector expertise and strategic insight, DoubleVerify is well positioned to capitalize on the outsized set of market opportunities and to launch new services that define the future of digital advertising engagement," he added.

Davis Noell, managing director, Providence Equity Partners, said the growing importance of DoubleVerify’s services in the online advertising market meant the investment posed “significant opportunities.”

He added: “The world's largest brands are facing significant transparency challenges in digital advertising and DoubleVerify’s software and data solutions are helping solve these critical pain points.”

DoubleVerify was founded in 2008 and provides advertisers with third-party measurement in areas such as: the viewability of online ads; brand safety; plus anti-fraud services.

Commenting on the deal, Desmond said: “I've spent nearly two decades working alongside the world's largest brands and have seen first-hand the need for third party measurement from all digital media and social platforms.”

She added: “Today media quality is the number one issue impacting digital ad performance and DoubleVerify helps to deliver the transparency clients need to make smart and safe advertising investments.”

The terms of the deal mean that Blumberg Capital will remain an investor in the company, while David Blumberg has also been appointed to the DoubleVerify board of directors.

Update:

The transaction is the latest in the ongoing round of mergers and acquisitions in the ever-evolving adtech sector, with recent weeks witnessing the sale of nToggle to Rubicon Project. This period also saw fellow publicly-listed outfit Rocket Fuel agreeing a sale to Sizmek, Outbrain purchasing Zemanta, plus Tremor Video selling the demand-side platform area of its business to Taptica. Meanwhile, Media iQ struck a similar deal to DoubleVerify’s move with a significant investment from private equity house ECI Partners.

As brands spend more of their advertising budgets online, plus marketers under increasing pressure to show a return-on-investment for their media spend, the third-party measurement sector is proving more-and-more attractive to investors.

DoubleVerify has spent the last 12 months capitalizing on this trend, inking several measurement deals with high profile outfits such as AOL, Snapchat and GroupM, as well as YouTube. This deal came about after the Google-owned video sharing site incurred the wrath of advertisers following a high-profile investigation which underlined the ongoing problem of ads being served against questionable content.

Earlier this year Moat, an adtech outfit providing similar services to DoubleVerify, sold to Oracle in a deal estimated to be worth in excess of $800m, with industry commentator and adtech advisor Ciarán O’Kane, chief executive of ExchangeWire, stating that other providers of third-party measurement services are likely to be the subject of M&A in the near-to-mid term future.

Commenting on the DoubleVerify deal, he added: “Although it’s less than the Moat deal, I think it’s a real vindication of the space, and it’s interesting that we have private equity taking more of an interest in it.

“Adtech keeps evolving, and this deal shows that it continues to provide solutions to problems that advertisers need solved,” he added, casting doubt on commentaries espousing the death knell of adtech players.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.