RTL Group has acquired a 65 majority stake in SpotXchange, the Denver-based programmatic video advertising company. In addition to RTL Group’s initial investment of US-$144 million (€107 million), the parties agreed on an earn-out component that might increase the initial consideration subject to the future performance of SpotXchange. Under the terms of the deal, RTL Group also has the opportunity to acquire the remaining shareholding in the future.
However, the deal is subject to US competition authority approval and is expected to close by the end of August 2014. RTL Group say the investment is the next step in their strategy to become a leading player in all segments of online video and online video advertising. RTL Group becomes the first major broadcaster to invest in the rapidly growing market of programmatic online video advertising.
SpotXchange was founded in 2007 and the company says they were the first online advertising marketplace with an exclusive focus on video. The company’s portfolio of publishers includes The Atlantic, Hearst Corporation, Meredith Video Studios, Mail Online, NDN and Adaptive Media.
Online video advertising is currently the fastest growing digital advertising segment, expected to grow globally at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 24 per cent between 2014 and 2018. This growth is driven particularly by programmatic video advertising which is estimated to increase from US-$2.7 billion in 2013 to US-$15.4 billion in 2018 worldwide (CAGR: +42 per cent).
Joint statement of Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, Co-CEOs of RTL Group:
“Following our investments in non-linear TV services and in multi-channel networks on Youtube, RTL Group has already become the leading European media company in terms of online video views. The logical next step in our strategy is a structural move into the area of digital monetisation – improving our skills by adding innovative data- and technology-based competencies. SpotXchange is the perfect fit for RTL Group for such a move: it has a first-class management team that has built a leading, state-of-the-art platform for programmatic selling of online video advertising. With its impressive growth story and strong positioning in the United States, SpotXchange also represents a unique opportunity to enhance RTL Group’s presence in the world’s biggest and most advanced media market.”
Joint statement from the two co-founders of SpotXchange, Michael Shehan (CEO) and Steve Swoboda (COO and CFO):
“We are thrilled to be joining the RTL Group, a global leader in media and entertainment, and believe they are the ideal partner to help SpotXchange expand the reach of our comprehensive video ad monetisation services. This investment demonstrates RTL Group’s progressive vision and embrace of programmatic trading, ad serving and yield optimisation in the digital arena. The companies comprising RTL Group operate in a decentralised fashion which will allow SpotXchange to thrive and grow as the last independent digital video ad monetisation platform while providing significant opportunities through partnership with RTL Group’s leading European broadcast companies and top tier global content producers. Joining RTL Group will present incredible benefits and opportunities for SpotXchange’s publishers, buyers and people.”
Under the terms of the transaction, RTL Group will appoint three of five members of the Board of SpotXchange. Michael Shehan and Steve Swoboda will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the company, reporting to its Board.
RTL Group and the management team of SpotXchange have developed a joint growth plan to keep SpotXchange on its current growth path in the US and Asian-Pacific region, while simultaneously focusing on an accelerated roll-out in Europe.
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