Strategic M&A and Investment Transactions in Marketing Data & Analytics

Audience intelligence derived from quality data and insightful analysis has become critical to brands and agencies on their quest to identify, engage and build lasting relationships with consumers – particularly their most valuable, loyal and influential advocates.

Data and analytics have also played a critical role in the disruptive force of programmatic media buying, nowadays often instructed by machine learning-based algorithms. Marketers have become empowered with data and technology to not only precisely target audiences at scale, but to also engage consumers with dynamic personalized creative content.

Theoretically, this is all leading to highly effective advertising; if it weren’t for the moving target of capturing consumers’ attention – and their attraction to novel, relevant personalized experiences coordinated across all screens.

As content proliferates across an increasing array of channels, whether that be online (Web, social, search, etc.), the mobile Web and apps, television or other non-digital channels, the task of identifying, reaching and engaging target audiences is as challenging as ever.

According to IDC, the data analytics market is expected to reach $125 billion worldwide in 2015, of which marketing and audience analytics has played a signficant part of this growth. Research by Regalix indicates that 84 percent of business-to-business organizations are investing in marketing analytics to optimize online media advertising, provide personalization, and formulate promotions.

Marketers’ dependence on data analytics is growing. Over 70% of marketing executives surveyed expect to increase their reliance on data analytics for decision-making over the next three years.

Our team at Madison Alley has recapped notable transactions in marketing data and analytics in the last 18 months, as provided below.

comScore Acquires Proximic

In May 2015, comScore acquired Proximic, a data analytics company that delivers transparency to digital advertising. Through the acquisition, comScore will utilize Proximic’s pre-bid technology to power enhancements to brand safety and content categorization capabilities across its products. The company had previously raised $10.4 million over four rounds from two investors.

Domo Raises Over $200 Million at a $2 Billion Valuation
Domo, a cloud-based business intelligence company, raised over $200 million in Series D financing in April 2015 from GGV Capital, Capital Group Companies, BlackRock and Glynn Capital Management, raising its total funding over nine rounds to $450 million, the latest at a $2 billion valuation. Domo takes data from over 300 different systems and analyzes it to provide actionable insights for companies. Despite the company’s software only being publicly available for less than a month, it was sold privately for nearly four years and, with 1,000 companies already onboard, generates a higher revenue per customer than its closest competitors.

Nielsen Acquires eXcelate for an Estimated $200 Million
In March 2015, Nielsen acquired big data management company eXcelate for an estimated $200 million in cash. This acquisition added to Nielsen’s programmatic media ecosystem with data and insights to improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. eXcelate had raised a total of $32 million over three rounds through four investors.

WPP Acquires 15-20% Stake in comScore
In February 2015, WPP invested in data analytics and measurement company comScore, acquiring a 15 to 20 percent stake in the company. Through this investment, comScore has formed a strategic partnership with Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP. comScore is partnering with Kantar on cross-media audience and campaign measurement in non-U.S. markets, and acquired the assets of Kantar’s Internet audience measurement businesses in certain European markets.

Yahoo! Acquires Flurry
In July 2014, Yahoo! acquired mobile analytics provider Flurry to bolster its mobile advertising monetization strategy. With mobile advertising exploding, Flurry is positioned to help marketers better target their advertising using the data collected across 5.5 billion app sessions per day. Since the acquisition, Yahoo! has incorporated Flurry into its expanded mobile advertising suite for application developers.

Acxiom Acquires LiveRamp for $310 Million
LiveRamp addresses a challenge that is top of mind for many marketers – incorporating offline customer data into online advertising. Recognizing this opportunity, data giant Acxiom acquired LiveRamp in May 2014 for $310 million. This acquisition brings LiveRamp’s data onboarding from offline sources and web apps to Acxiom customers. The company had raised about $30 million in venture capital since its founding six years prior to its acquisition.

Oracle Purchases BlueKai and DataLogix
In a push to build out its marketing automation offering, Oracle has made significant acquisitions in data analytics, starting with the purchase of BlueKai, a consumer data aggregator, for an estimated $350-400 million in February 2014. BlueKai’s hundreds of millions of data profiles are being tied into Oracle’s Responsys and Eloqua applications, providing marketers the ability to build personalized cross-channel campaigns and customer interactions across e-mail, web, social, mobile, advertising and syndicated content channels.

This acquisition was followed by the purchase of DataLogix in December 2014 for over $1.2 billion. Adding DataLogix’s consumer sentiment data to its arsenal further expands Oracle’s offering and ability to provide purchase-based targeting.

Stay tuned as next month we recognize investors who have become leaders in this category. We hope you find this content insightful and informative. As always, we welcome your feedback.

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