- Criteo has entered exclusive talks to acquire the ad-tech platform Iponweb in a deal valued at $380 million, according to a news release. The transaction, made up of $305 million cash and $75 million in treasury shares, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 pending approval from regulators and a review by Criteo's French Works Council.
- The deal would see the Paris-based commerce media platform leverage Iponweb's media-trading marketplace, demand-side platform (DSP) and supply-side platform (SSP) to help scale its first-party capabilities as marketers contend with cookie deprecation and other changes to third-party identifiers.
- Founded in 2001, U.K.-based Iponweb has been an important player in building out programmatic media's infrastructure. It now has more than 400 employees in offices across North America, Europe and Asia, per its website. The acquisition positions Criteo as a more significant contender in the race to find solutions that can provide an effective alternative to cookies.
Criteo makes a major bet to provide marketers with a scalable alternative to cookies in moving to acquire Iponweb. The deal would see the commerce media platform nab a company with wide-ranging programmatic services spanning its trading platform, DSP and SSP. Criteo has recently ramped up offerings around retail media as pending cookie deprecation shakes up its historic ad-retargeting business. Integrating Iponweb intends to speed up that transformation while unlocking a deeper well of first-party data for clients to draw on as they contend with their own challenges around precision and measurement.
"Joining forces with IPONWEB turbocharges the execution of Criteo's Commerce Media Platform strategy," Criteo CEO Megan Clarken said in a press statement.
In the announcement, Criteo pointed to several areas where Iponweb could strengthen its operations. The ad-tech company's trading platform, BidSwitch, currently connects 130 DSPs and nearly 150 SSPs, which would broaden the distribution of Criteo's commerce audiences. BidCore, Iponweb's DSP, would expand Criteo's full-funnel capabilities, with an eye on mid- and upper-funnel channels driving heavy demand like digital video and connected TV. Meanwhile, its SSP, MediaGrid, would aim to open up richer media inventory and help Criteo expand its direct publisher relationships as the industry shifts dollars away from open exchanges.
While Criteo has felt some of the pinch from the deprecation of cookies and other third-party identifiers, retail media has become a promising segment. Major big-box stores including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Lowe's and Kroger are rapidly expanding their networks as they try to capitalize on the e-commerce boom and respond to challenges from Amazon, which is similarly investing more in its advertising suite.
Lowe's, Walmart Canada, BestBuy and Douglas have recently joined Criteo's retail media platform. The company saw revenue up 8% year-on-year to $509 million in the third quarter. In its Q3 earnings statement, Criteo raised its financial guidance for the full year, a position it reaffirmed announcing the Iponweb news.