Criteo S.A. (NASDAQ: CRTO) (“Criteo”), the global technology company that provides the world’s leading Commerce Media Platform, announced today that it has entered into exclusive negotiations to acquire IPONWEB, a market-leading AdTech company with world-class media trading capabilities, for $380 million in a combination of cash and CRTO treasury shares. With this acquisition, Criteo accelerates its strategic plans to shape the future of commerce media and deliver the best commerce audiences at scale to both marketers and media owners across the open internet.
Compelling Strategic Fit
Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform is designed to provide marketers and media owners direct access to commerce audiences across the open internet. By connecting marketer and media owner first-party data across its vast network, Criteo powers seamless audience-first advertising solutions throughout the supply chain, helping brands seeking to drive household preference via CTV campaigns, advertise their consumer product on retailer websites and apps, or acquire retail direct customers.
For over 20 years, IPONWEB’s technology has helped to power an open and diverse advertising ecosystem, building enterprise solutions for media owners, agencies and marketers, and providing media trading infrastructure for the AdTech industry, serving both marketers and media owners in the process.
With this planned acquisition, Criteo accelerates its Commerce Media Platform vision and offers better control to its enterprise marketers – and their agency partners – by leveraging IPONWEB’s well-established DSP and SSP solutions. The acquisition also expands media owner monetization opportunities and provides critical services for first-party data management across the ecosystem. Together with IPONWEB, Criteo will distinguish itself as the commerce media partner of choice on the open internet for the post third-party cookie and identifier world.
IPONWEB’s open technology and culture are perfectly aligned with Criteo’s purpose to support a fair and open internet where technology enables discovery, innovation and choice for consumers, marketers and media owners. Both companies share a deep engineering culture to innovate and solve complex problems at scale, and are also global with European roots, grounded in privacy-focused, sophisticated datasets and AI.
“Joining forces with IPONWEB turbocharges the execution of Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform strategy,” said Megan Clarken, Chief Executive Officer of Criteo. “This is a defining moment in Criteo’s transformation to drive sustainable growth and revenue diversification, creating value for all stakeholders from day one. Criteo’s customers would benefit from enhanced full-funnel capabilities with even more flexible self-service tools, while continuing to leverage Criteo’s unique commerce data for targeting, measurement and superior outcomes.” “Criteo’s proven excellence in AI and unparalleled focus on performance at scale have long been highly respected in the industry,” said Dr. Boris Mouzykantskii, IPONWEB’s founder, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientist. “We look forward to joining Criteo and together seize the vast opportunities in our fast-changing ecosystem, bringing enhanced value for our customers, employees and partners.”
Further solidifies Criteo’s leadership position for the post third-party identifier world
Together with IPONWEB’s large media trading marketplace, Demand-Side Platform and Supply-Side Platform, Criteo would be able to bring media owners much larger scale of media spend and first-party data access, a critical component of its product strategy.
Accessing more first-party data from media owners and being able to marry their first-party data assets with that of marketers allows superior activation, interoperability and measurement of first-party data within Criteo’s commerce ecosystem – making Criteo’s commerce audiences more universally accessible to a broader range of media buyers. This would allow Criteo to drive the best performing Commerce Audiences at scale without any third-party identifiers – whether cookies or IDFA.
Proposed Transaction Expected to Drive Long-term Shareholder Value
The proposed transaction is expected to be accretive to Criteo’s revenue growth, Adjusted EBITDA, EPS and Free Cash Flow, adding over $100 million in annual Revenue ex-TAC as well as positive Adjusted EBITDA contribution and cash flows from day one, accelerating Criteo’s New Solutions growth and further diversifying revenue to drive long-term sustainable growth.
The $380 million purchase price is expected to be funded through $305 million paid in cash and $75 million paid in CRTO treasury shares. At closing, Criteo would be paying approximately 20% of the acquisition price in treasury shares1. Based on Criteo’s closing stock price as of December 7, 2021, the treasury shares that Criteo intends to utilize would have been repurchased at an average price of $25.2 and generate a 168% return-oninvestment. Utilization of these treasury shares for the proposed acquisition would also enable Criteo to accelerate its share buy-back program after closing.
As the funding structure requires no additional debt financing or use of existing credit facilities, the proposed acquisition would preserve Criteo’s full financial flexibility after completion.
Criteo expects to have over $600 million of financial liquidity left after the completion of the contemplated transaction, providing ample flexibility to pursue its strategic transformation and invest in its multiple growth areas. Looking ahead, Criteo will maintain its robust capital allocation process with the primary goal of investing in continued organic growth and leveraging M&A to accelerate the execution of its Commerce Media Platform strategy, while continuing to return cash to shareholders through its share buyback program.
Closing of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals and consultation of Criteo’s French Works Council.
Criteo also reaffirms its 2021 financial guidance as provided on November 3rd, 2021.
Attractive Commercial and Product Synergies
Together, the complementary product sets would accelerate Criteo’s roadmap, delivering marketers and media owners superior advertising and monetization solutions optimized for commerce outcomes.
- BidSwitch®, IPONWEB’s media trading marketplace connecting 130 demand and close to 150 supply partners, combined with Criteo, would broaden the distribution of commerce audiences on the open internet, making first-party data activation, interoperability and measurement more seamless in the post third-party cookie world.
- BidCore®, IPONWEB’s customizable self-service Demand-Side Platform, would expand the breadth of Criteo’s full-funnel marketing offering, in particular for mid- and upper-funnel advertising campaigns, including on video and CTV, and boost the expansion of its Retail Media business.
- The MediaGrid®, IPONWEB’s advanced Supply-Side Platform enabling highly curated inventory, would enable Criteo to significantly expand its direct publisher footprint and enhance its first-party data distribution and activation potential.
- For Enterprise marketers and Agencies, IPONWEB’s highly flexible technology and robust customization capabilities would support bespoke deployments of the Commerce Media Platform and enable Criteo to address the unique needs of these strategic customers.
Evercore is acting as financial advisor and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Baker McKenzie LLP are serving as legal counsels to Criteo in connection with the contemplated transaction. FieldFisher LLP is serving as legal counsel to IPONWEB.