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Rubicon Project buys nToggle for $38.5m to clean up programmatic

Tyrone Stewart

Rubicon ProjectOnline advertising company Rubicon Project has acquired nToggle, which offers efficiency and transparency in programmatic advertising, for $38.5m (£29.4m) as it looks to get back on track following a less-than-impressive 12 or so months.

Boston-based nToggle claims to make it easier for DSPs to identify and target audiences, while reducing infrastructure costs. Its technology will be integrated with the Rubicon Project platform ‘in the coming months’ and is expected to generate higher fill rates that drive incremental revenue in 2018, while having a positive effect on adjusted EBITDA. The acquisition is also expected to generate a ‘modest increase’ in Rubicon’s expenses this year.

“Integrating nToggle’s technology into Rubicon Project’s platform enables buyers to find the ‘signal in the noise’ so they can bid more confidently, win more auctions, and spend more with our publisher and app clients,” said Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Rubicon Project. “This acquisition underscores our commitment to strengthen the Rubicon Project exchange with tools and services that make it easy for buyers and sellers to transact. The needs of our buyers changed with the introduction of header bidding, and nToggle’s technology enables us to address those evolving needs.”

The acquisition is a clear sign of Rubicon attempting to get everything back in order after a tumultuous past year. In November 2016, it cut its workforce by 19 per cent – or 125 employees – as part of restructuring. This was followed with the departures of seven executives in February this year. Then there was The Guardian lawsuit on the grounds of “non-disclosed buyer fees in relation to Guardian inventory.”

Things started to take shape eventually with the appointment of a new CEO in the form of former Millennial Media CEO Michael Barrett, and a new look EMEA leadership team.  Despite these significant developments, including this acquisition, over the last few months, Rubicon saw its share price fall by nearly 70 per cent.