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Alliance Data Systems Anticipates Conversant Will Increase Revenue To $6.6B

ads alliance dataAlliance Data Systems (ADS) reported Q3 2014 revenue of $1.3 billion, a 20% YoY change, mostly driven by the company’s private-label credit card services division, which saw 17% YoY revenue growth to $622 million.

ADS has steadily increased its outlook with each earnings call, and it did so again in its Q3, raising its core earnings per share (EPS) guidance by $.05 from Q2 2014.

ADS made a splash in the ad tech world when it agreed to acquire Conversant for $2.3 billion on behalf of its marketing data subsidiary Epsilon. Once the deal finalizes – ADS anticipates it’ll close by Jan. 1 – company President and CEO Ed Heffernan said he anticipates ADS revenue will increase 25% to $6.6 billion, raising core EPS to roughly $14.80 to $15, a 20% increase.

Heffernan emphasized this figure was just “a stake in the ground” and that ADS will refine the number.

Heffernan also noted growth in ADS’ other business units, including 52% YoY revenue growth to $324 million for airline loyalty program provider LoyaltyOne and 6% YoY revenue growth to $378 million for Epsilon. (more…)

Holding Ad Tech: Matomy Insiders Sell 20% Stake To Publicis Groupe

ofer-druker-matomyPublicis Groupe will acquire 20% of Matomy Media Group, an Israeli performance marketing company that recently went public on the London Stock Exchange, the companies said Monday.

The investment will not generate cash for the company's coffers, going instead to a small group of individual investors, but CEO Ofer Druker said it will result in collaboration between Matomy and Publicis-owned agencies.

Under the deal terms, Publicis will invest about $60 million to snap up 17.9 million shares of Matomy stock from a small group of individual investors that includes Druker and Chairman Ilan Shiloah. The agreement comes with an option to buy another 4.9% worth of Matomy shares.

"Publicis will be able to work with us on three main elements," Druker told AdExchanger. "One will be to include us whenever it makes sense in their media-buying activities. The second is Matomy is planning to grow to more territories; next will be Asia and Eastern Europe. Publicis has a strong ability to help us start building our presence there."

Third, he said Publicis will aid Matomy's efforts to diversify to new industry verticals such as "fashion, ecommerce, and so on where we are still not strong." The company's roots are in finance, education and other performance-obsessed categories.


Qubit Raises $26M From Accel Partners For ‘Predictive Data’ In Ecommerce

GrahamCookeLondon-based ecommerce personalization tech company Qubit has raised $26 million in a Series B round led by new investor Accel Partners.

Existing investors Balderton Capital and Salesforce Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Qubit’s total financing to $36.5 million to date.

“Our new funding is for continued investment in R&D, and we have some very exciting developments in predictive data and empowering marketers to take control of their optimization strategies,” company CEO Graham Cooke said. “We’re also continuing to scale up our sales, professional service and marketing teams in the US and Europe… (and) the plan is to IPO when the business is ready.”

Qubit is among a handful of tag management systems (TMS) like Ensighten, Signal (formerly BrightTag) and Tealium, whose technologies track and codify data signals and, oftentimes, run advanced analytics on top of that traffic flow. In Qubit’s case, tag management is a part of a broader portfolio of audience segmentation and online personalization apps developed by a bunch of Google alums.

Qubit helps retail customers ranging from Staples to Jimmy Choo create what company Cooke calls “Visitor Clouds” of first-party customer data.


In The New Wave Of Social Marketing M&A, Facebook PMDs Call The Shots

SecondSocialThe participants in a new race to snap up social marketing technology companies aren’t the usual enterprise software suspects. In the latest wave of consolidation, Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers (PMD) are buying each other.

Search and social software company Kenshoo this week moved in on Adquant, a social ads platform specializing in mobile apps and games.

Similarly, video ad server Mixpo purchased rich media platform and Facebook PMD ShopIgniter to pave its way into paid social. Social media management platform Sprinklr snapped up Dachis Group and TBG Digital and HootSuite grabbed BrightKit to do the same.

“If you look at the simple fact that more media buying is getting disintermediated and going in house, more social planning and execution is going in house, too,” commented Julie Hopkins, research director at Gartner. “What’s driving it is the increased movement by social providers into the paid media space. You require the paid amplification to get the reach you used to get organically.”

To the casual observer, it may seem like some of the smaller PMDs are waving the white flag and understandably so – social is but one rung on a ladder in a wider portfolio of data management and analytics considering enterprise competitors like Adobe Marketing Cloud.


Adobe's Strong Q3: Marketing Cloud Wins, Uptick in 'Large' Deals

AdobeQ3Adobe's fiscal Q3 was relatively strong as the company reported $290 million in revenue for its Adobe Marketing Cloud portfolio of products, up from the $254.9 million recorded in Q3 last year. Adobe Systems' total revenue was $1 billion in the quarter.

Overall, Adobe Marketing Cloud cited strong customer adoption in the third quarter, counting British Sky, Ford Motor Co., H&M, the US Department of Treasury and Adidas among key client wins.

"It really is in our best interest to manage and deliver the entire customer platform," said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe Systems CEO, during the company's Q3 earnings call.

Although he cited Adobe Campaign (formerly Neolane, the cross-channel campaign tool it bought about a year ago) and Adobe Experience Manager as key drivers for the overall marketing portfolio, "we're seeing an increase in multiyear deployments as well as [selling] more solutions within existing customers," which is leading to increased "stickiness" around the entire cloud portfolio.

Narayen said a combination of factors contributed to the traction this quarter, including an increase in size and volume of transactions, international expansion, growth in partner business, as well as a shift in perpetual to term-based contracts, which indicate larger, multiyear agreements. (more…)

Mobile Player xAd Snags $50M In New Funding, Says It Doesn’t Even Need It

xAdfundingFollowing a $50 million infusion of cash Thursday, mobile location vendor xAd appears to be sitting pretty. The money is a combination of equity and debt financing. XAd is not publicly disclosing the split.

According to CEO Dipanshu Sharma, the company doesn’t “have any immediate plans for the funding,” which came courtesy of Institutional Venture Partners, Emergence Capital, Softbank and Silicon Valley Bank. Although Sharma declined to share the company’s valuation, reportage via VentureWire placed xAd’s worth at about $250 million.

“We have enough self-generated profit to fuel our expenses and product leadership,” Sharma said. “However, we’re continually evaluating strategic acquisitions that have potential to further strengthen our market leadership and global scale.”

Sharma would not comment on specifically what type of companies xAd might acquire down the line. When asked to what extent xAd sees itself as a potential acquisition target itself, Sharma basically said that it doesn't.


Alibaba’s Q2 Revenue Nearly Doubles Year Over Year On Road To IPO

AlibabaJust days shy of its IPO, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group reported Q2 revenue of $2.54 billion, a 46.4% increase over last year, while net income skyrocketed to $1.99 billion. The company could raise close to an additional $20 billion out of the IPO based on an average valuation of $168 billion.

In a revised F-1 the company filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Alibaba also noted positive growth in average mobile monthly active users, which increased from 163 million in March to 188 million at the end of June. Active buyers totaled 279 million, more than double the number last year.

Alibaba makes its money primarily through its Taobao Marketplace and TMall properties, which nearly doubled in gross merchandising volume last quarter to $296 billion with close to a third of that volume coming from mobile.

For the most part, Alibaba’s merchant-driven and the company charges on a fee and commissions basis for online marketing services via the Alimama platform. Alibaba also runs an ad network and exchange business, which is the culmination of a merger between its affiliate network and Taobao Ad Network and Exchange. Cloud computing services, much like Amazon Web Services, is another revenue driver for Alibaba, with that figure now north of $100 million.


AppNexus Attracts Public Equity Investment, Now Valued At $1.2B

BrianOKelleyThe independent ad tech company that powers more than 30 billion ad impressions per day through its platform is now, officially, a $1 billion-plus business.

AppNexus revealed Monday it has closed a $60 million investment round from an unidentified Boston public equity and asset management firm, valuing the company at about $1.2 billion. At the time of this writing, the company expects up to $40 million in additional financing to follow from “other interested parties” in the coming months, which would make the new investment total nearly $100 million.

The company’s past raises have totaled $140 million. AppNexus has also increased its debt facility to $75 million, extendable to $100 million.

Rather than riding the ad tech IPO train and weathering the ups and downs of Wall Street, for now co-founder and CEO Brian O’Kelley said the public equity financing will give AppNexus the currency it needs for future M&A, to “aggressively” ramp up on engineering talent and further global expansion.

He spoke with AdExchanger about the deal and ad tech investment landscape at large.


Facebook, LinkedIn Ads Partner AdStage Picks Up $6.25M

AdStageAdStage, a cross-platform campaign automation tool as well as a Facebook and LinkedIn ads API partner, has raised $6.25 million in Series A financing from Verizon Ventures and myriad other investment firms.

This brings the company to $8.78 million in total funding since its founding less than two years ago. AdStage will predominantly use the new injection to add to its headcount – the San Francisco-based startup now has 17 employees (of which 11 are engineers) and plans to grow to 25 in the months to come.

AdStage is an entirely SaaS-based product and launched initially an “AdStage Express” version of its platform, which “allowed advertisers to build a one-campaign template that would propagate into the four networks we supported – Facebook, Google, Bing and LinkedIn,” according to Sahil Jain, cofounder and CEO of AdStage.

It also released a more advanced product, called AdStage Platform, designed to allow marketers to centrally build and deploy campaigns across multiple ad networks, he said. The funding will also be used for product development, such as a new “Automated Rules” feature for automated bidding, budgeting and day parting for cross-network campaigns.

“Realistically, consolidation is the next step for this (ad tech) space, so we wanted to bring everything that’s useful for an advertiser under one roof and look at it as a workflow solution with third-party integrations,” Jain added.


Dentsu Sees Q2 Revenue Increase From Client Wins, World Cup Advertising

dentsuDentsu reported steady quarterly earnings Tuesday both in Japan and abroad. The Japanese holding company saw Q2 revenue rise to $1.3 billion, a 9.8% increase YoY.

The company saw 10.6% organic growth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, 4.7% in the Americas and 14.8% in Asia-Pacific.

The modest growth was driven by new client wins within the Dentsu Aegis Network and a boost in advertising revenue, aided in part by the FIFA World Cup.

Income from advertising hit about $5 billion, a 4.8% increase from the same period last year. Television beat out all other Dentsu business-sector categories by a landslide, at 51.4% of total business. Creative business came in second, at 13%.

Although interactive media only accounted for 4.6% of total business, the sector saw the highest percentage of growth – an impressive 19.3% YoY and a potential signal of the ad world’s digital evolution.