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Oracle To Acquire AddThis, Bulk Up On Audience Data

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Oracle has signed an agreement to acquire AddThis, a social bookmarking startup that has since transitioned into a publisher audience platform, for an undisclosed sum.

Oracle’s Data Cloud, which combines Oracle’s earlier acquisitions of BlueKai and Datalogix, will benefit the most. Making an acquisition has become a holiday-time tradition for the enterprise giant.

“Oracle Data Cloud is the fastest growing global Data as a Service (DaaS) business, operating the most accurate data ID Graph to enable understanding of consumer behavior across all media channels,” wrote Omar Tawakol, SVP and GM of the Oracle Data Cloud, in a letter announcing the deal Tuesday.

“Oracle Data Cloud ingests third-party data, extracts value, and activates the data to drive insights and harness this knowledge for targeting, personalization and measurement. With the addition of AddThis, Oracle Data Cloud’s offering is expected to deliver unprecedented levels of audience insight, measurement and reach.”

AddThis powers 15 million websites and develops audience activation and insights tools for brands, publishers and advertisers, the company said.

Like competitors Bit.ly and ShareThis, social sharing was AddThis’ early sweet spot. In 2014, it rolled out a publisher marketplace to broaden its offerings from social plugins and content recommendation widgets to include engagement and analytics for publishers.

It also created a data coop from all of those social and site signals, with access to about 1.8 billion unique users a month, the company claimed.

“A lot of folks are talking about the content marketing stack and the traditional ad stack merging in many ways. I see ourselves playing right into that piece,” CEO Rich Harris, told AdExchanger, in an earlier interview.

“We’re seeing … the distinctions blurring between publishers, advertisers and marketers. Marketers are publishers and they’re also advertisers and they’re promoting their own content out there using sponsored content, trying to drive clicks back to their site.”

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The Oracle Data Cloud has steadily pursued diversified data sources. BlueKai brought behavioral know-how, Datalogix boosted offline data prowess. Tawakol recently told AdExchanger Oracle Data Cloud was focusing on what “consumers do, buy, or say.” AddThis should supply that insight.

AddThis had a longstanding relationship with Oracle Data Cloud companies like Datalogix for years, so the deal seemed like a natural fit, according to Ramsey McGrory, who served as president and CEO of AddThis from 2011-2013 and is now president of sales and publishing for Scout.

“While BlueKai acted as a data marketplace, it did not have the technology footprint of AddThis, whose JavaScript is installed across 15 million sites that would allow you to achieve a high [match] rate in pixel syncing,” McGrory said. “That was AddThis’ big advantage here – a footprint that allows them to sync cookie IDs across the universe, arguably better than anyone in-market, including LiveRamp.”

Although Oracle did not disclose a deal price, McGrory expects the deal was fair for both parties. Inbound interest in the company was “fairly consistent” for several years due to the scale of sites that had adopted AddThis’ tools and for its data processing horsepower.

“In the space we’re in, marketplaces are closing. We’re in an age of walled gardens,” he added. “You have Facebook, Google, and then technology providers like Adobe or Oracle who are providing more tech-driven, open marketplace solutions. It’s an ongoing battle between open versus closed. Like any acquisition, you want to take an asset and plug it into a company that can explode [its value] … that’s exactly what Oracle can do.”

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