The close of 2019 saw a flurry of ad tech merger and acquisition activity, as connected television has become a must-have capability. Just two days into the new year and the deals are still flying as Cadent, the advanced TV solutions provider, has purchased the cross-channel identity solutions provider 4INFO.
The purchase indicates that Cadent is pushing ahead with its go-to-market offering, despite earlier reports that its private equity owners are looking for a buyer as strategic investors circle the lucrative CTV sector.
According to an announcement, Cadent, which has a CTV-focused buy-side offering, was interested in 4INFO because of its “patented audience graph technology.”
This technology helps national advertisers, such as automotive, CPG and retailer brands, establish a link between multiple mobile devices, such as cell phones, laptops and tablets, and a single household. These capabilities enable media buyers to improve campaign efficiencies through better frequency capping, and more efficient audience targeting at scale across different devices.
In a statement, Cadent CEO Nick Troiano added, “The integration of the 4INFO household graph and its OTT capabilities with the Cadent Advanced TV Platform creates the industry’s only unified platform for all forms of data-driven television—cable, broadcast, addressable STB, OTT, and connected devices—at true national scale.”
Troiano told Adweek the 4INFO purchase will help the DSP work more closely with its inventory partners through its enhanced aggregation capabilities, which allows advertisers to use their desired audience data to target at scale across different screen types and multiple inventory providers. Such capabilities combine the ease-of-use of a walled garden without the associated restrictions, such as limited targeting and measurement capabilities.
“[Walled gardens] create vertical silos across MVPD, and across different CTV and OTT providers … but in our view 4INFO is an extension of what Cadent has always been doing through open integrations and architecture with all of our partners [such as Xandr, Comcast or Ampersand],” he added.
Cadent did not disclose the amount it paid for 4INFO, which was founded in 2004 and has an estimated 100 employees, and has raised more than $73 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. News of the purchase also comes after Cadent was reportedly seeking a buyer among private equity groups, as well as strategic buyers such as Comcast, said to be interested in purchasing the outfit from current owners Lee Equity Partners.
Troiano declined to comment on any potential sale.
The final quarter of 2019 saw three notable M&A announcements in the CTV space, with AT&T-owned Xandr purchasing Clypd, Roku buying rival video DSP Dataxu, and the pending merger of Rubicon Project and Telaria intended to accelerate their respective fortunes in the space.
Insiders were quick to play down speculation that AT&T and Comcast were eager bidders for Cadent, but sources with direct knowledge say that Lee Equity Partners will continue to entertain any potential suitors as 2020 continues.
Meanwhile, Ana Milicevic, principal and cofounder at consultancy Sparrow Advisors, told Adweek that adding capabilities to existing CTV operations will enhance the attractiveness of such companies as the sector goes through yet more consolidation.
“As national advertisers look at cross-platform frequency capping, media mix model optimization and understanding who in the household is being exposed to which addressable ad, there’s a need to extend the product set of companies who focus on CTV rapidly and create or bundle offerings that will be attractive to subsequent larger acquirers down the road,” she said.
“With privacy regulatory efforts like CCPA going into effect, we’ll also see a more pronounced strategic shift in what types of customer identity and data information companies will want to own versus continue to rent from partners.”