Denmark-Based Ad-Tech Company Adform Seeks to Raise Over $100 Million With IPO Filing

The move that defies industry trends

Adform’s 2018 revenue through Sept. 30 was approximately $53.5 million. Getty Images
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Bucking the trend of ad-tech companies being taken off the public markets and into private ownership, Adform today filed documents with Nasdaq Copenhagen signaling its intention to stage an initial public offering.

Adform has appointed ABG Sundial Collier, Danske Bank and Carnegie to host its stock exchange listing with the filing and hopes to raise approximately $115 million–or 750 million Danish kroner–through the sale of newly issued shares.

The move marks a departure from the trend of ad-tech outfits having IPOs circa 2013 and 2014 to be taken into private ownership, a trend exemplified by the purchase of Rocket Fuel by private equity-back Sizmek last year for $145 million as well as Adobe’s purchase of TubeMogul in late 2016.

At present there are only a handful of publicly listed ad-tech companies, including Criteo, LiveRamp, RhythmOne, Rubicon Project and The Trade Desk, which is arguably the most successful ad-tech IPO, with the demand-side platform recently enjoying a valuation as high as $6 billion.

The company’s leadership, which has yet to issue a prospectus, claimed the move was geared toward raising funds to further help accelerate growth.

Adform CEO Gustav Mellentin said, “It’s been quite a journey from a basement in Nørrebro, Copenhagen to today having more than 850 fantastic colleagues across 24 countries, but I am convinced the most exciting times are still ahead of us.”

Peter L. Ravn, Adform’s chairman of the board of directors, said, “We are investing in accelerating Adform’s growth on several dimensions and intend to seek funding of the rapid market expansion, continued product development and a strengthening of our balance sheet through an initial public offering.”

The documents show that Adform’s 2018 revenue through Sept. 30 was approximately $53.5 million, representing an increase of 16 percent from the same period 12 months earlier on billings of just under $252 million, according to the filing.

Meanwhile, it also forecast full-year revenues of up to $78.4 million for 2018 and in the range of $88 million to 92 million in 2019. “Adform aspires to gradually accelerate revenue growth towards doubling the current growth rate in the medium term,” the filing documentation states.

The forecast is primarily due to the anticipated materialization of earlier investments initially made at the expense of profitability, which should help scale its operations. Adform has more than 800 employees in 23 markets worldwide and offers both buy- and sell-side advertising technology, with the former generating 84 percent of its total income.

The company’s leadership claimed to have positioned Adform “in certain growth pockets,” which they feel will outpace the growth of the wider digital advertising sector such as mobile, video and data management. In addition, the company’s filing also claimed Adform hopes to further capitalize on the digitization of formerly analogue channels such as TV, audio and out of home.

“Adform is well positioned to address critical challenges in the advertising market by offering comprehensive technology platform as opposed to most competitors that provide single product offerings, so-called point solutions,” the document reads.

@ronan_shields Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.