Sourcepoint Buys RedBud as Ad Tech M&A Activity Heats Up

The two companies are coming together as data privacy becomes more important

U.K.-based RedBud monitors publishers' websites for privacy issues. Sourcepoint, RedBud
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Privacy compliance platform Sourcepoint is buying RedBud, a U.K.-based startup technology company that scans websites for any activity that could be a privacy or revenue risk.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but market sources maintain it is indicative of resurgent mergers and operations activity in the space, which is regaining confidence after a period of uncertainty that spanned Q2 and early Q3.

“The RedBud team have been leaders in providing publishers with much-needed transparency,” Sourcepoint CEO Ben Barokas said in a statement, adding that publishers typically lack visibility into the way third parties process data on their websites.

“With the integration of their vision and exemplary product … Sourcepoint will help level the playing field for publishers and help brands ensure that their media spend is not only compliant but compatible with their approach to consumer data privacy,” Barokas said.

The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as uncertainty surrounding Apple’s iOS 14 rollout had put a question mark around mergers and acquisition in ad tech, a space that saw 351 such deals last year. But emerging and accelerating trends, like data privacy protection and the rise of streaming TV, have invigorated deal-making.

Last week TransUnion bought Tru Optik for reportedly more than $100 million, seeing potential in solving the identity issue in connected TV.

Terry Kawaja, CEO of investment bank Luma Partners, previously told Adweek that M&A discussions in ad tech are about to experience a surge after a hiatus caused by the economic impact of the pandemic.

“You’ll find that most of the decline in [ad] spend occurred in Q2, and by early Q3 it was back,” Kawaja said. “So, a lot of the conversations that occurred pre-pandemic picked back up again.”

Now Sourcepoint is buying RedBud as consumers data privacy comes under the spotlight. Google is removing third-party cookies from its Chrome browser and Apple plans to make its IDFA opt-in, all while regulations like CCPA aim to put data privacy controls more in the hands of internet users.

Founded in 2018, RedBud scans a publisher’s site to assess vendors, monitoring for privacy vulnerabilities and providing benchmarks so publishers can measure their “privacy health.”

“Because the regulatory environment—and consumer attitudes towards privacy—are evolving in nuanced and specific ways, it’s incredibly important for media owners and buyers to have mutual visibility into market standards,” Chloe Grutchfield, RedBud co-founder, said in a statement.

Grutchfield and fellow co-founder Rhys Denny will join Sourcepoint as product and sales leads, respectively.

A spokesperson said all four RedBud employees will be joining SourcePoint, which has 40 employees.


Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.
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