Preference Choice Publication

Rubicon Project to merge with Telaria to challenge the duopoly

David Murphy

Rubicon Project is merging with Telaria, whose platform optimizes yield for video publishers, in a stock-for-stock deal. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, will create the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform. The companies aim to offer an alternative to Facebook and Google, and make a big play in the connected TV (CTV) market. The combined company will employ more than 600 people in its offices in 19 cities in 11 countries.

Working together, the companies said they will enable thousands of publishers to connect with hundreds of buyers and brands, creating a global, independent alternative to closed players in the ecosystem. In addition, they said, the combined company will be “an essential omnichannel partner for buyers across formats, screens and geographies.”

The companies said their combined capabilities will enable publishers to monetize across all auction types and formats including CTV, desktop display, video, audio, and mobile. They said they will offer publishers a transparent alternative that supports the open internet and provides more control over how they manage their businesses.

On CTV, they noted that it is the fastest-growing digital medium, and that an increasing amount of CTV viewing is ad-supported. CTV offers advertisers the premium environment of television and the enhanced marketing capabilities of digital media. As with all digital media, CTV advertising is poised to be almost entirely programmatically transacted in the near future, and the companies said they offer additional engineering and sales resources, a broader geographic footprint and deeper financial assets in order to seize the CTV opportunity.

“The combination of Rubicon Project and Telaria will establish the world’s largest, independent sell-side advertising platform with scale, capabilities and solutions unmatched by the competition,” said Michael Barrett, President & CEO of Rubicon Project. “This transformative combination builds on our commitment to trust and transparency and accelerates our strategy to provide buyers and sellers with a single path to every format and channel including CTV. We could not be more excited about the future as two individually-strong industry leaders with complementary assets and cultures come together to create a market leader that we believe will generate significant opportunities for our employees, customers, partners, and stockholders worldwide.”

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2020. Upon closing, Telaria stockholders are expected to own approximately 47.1 per cent and Rubicon Project stockholders are expected to own approximately 52.9 per cent of the fully diluted shares of the combined company.
When the deal is complete, Michael Barrett will act as CEO of the combined company, Mark Zagorski will be named president & COO, and David Day will be its CFO.