Digital Transformation

Ycor withdraws from Sizmek bid, paving the way for Amazon's adtech ambitions

By Katie Deighton | Senior Reporter

June 17, 2019 | 4 min read

Weborama, the adtech firm backed by Maurice Levy’s Ycor holding group, has confirmed it is out of the race to purchase Sizmek’s ad server and Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) businesses, all but confirming Amazon as their new owner.

Amazon announced it had snapped up the technology just over two weeks ago. However one week later, Levy’s tech group raised eyebrows across the industry when it declared its intentions to better Jeff Bezos’ bid “with the vision of building the independent alternative the advertising industry needs”.

sizmek goes to Amazon

Amazon scoops up Sizmek as Ycor withdraws

Now, Ycor has confirmed it has surrendered in the acquisition battle after Amazon topped the French company’s highest offer last weekend.

Alain Levy, the son of Maurice and chief executive of Weborama, said in an email to The Drum today (17 June) that his company “will not be acquiring Sizmek’s Ad Serving and DCO business”.

The chief executive, who is also a partner at Ycor, described the tussle for Sizmek’s assets as one of “David versus Goliath” proportions, which ultimately did not end in the way of the biblical tale.

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“The fight is immensely unbalanced given how incommensurate Amazon’s resources are,” he wrote, reiterating that Weborama’s bid would have resulted a fairer, more independent adtech solution for the industry given its freedom from walled garden connections.

“The question of an alternative independent solution remains, more acute than ever, and we’re convinced the ad industry will have to tackle this challenge in due course.

“At Ycor/Weborama, we will continue our endeavors in order to provide marketers and agencies with choice. As said last week [7 June], we’re absolutely convinced that ‘choice must prevail’.”

With the purchase all but confirmed, Amazon will now look to ramp up its power play against Google and, to a lesser extent, Facebook, in the fight for media budgets.

Some industry commenters, such as Integral Ad Science’s Lisa Utzchneider, are confident Amazon’s entry into the adtech space will increase fairness and competition as the duopoly is confrotned by its first real threat.

However, others are more sceptical of Amazon’s ability to compete.

Ari Paparo, chief executive officer of adtech company Beeswax, said: "Amazon needs to realize that the ad serving sector is complex and very competitive. If the company doesn’t invest in the kind of enterprise sales and support customers expect, they are unlikely to make this deal successful."

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