Rumor: Akamai Buying BrightTag; OpenX Sees Profit; Marin Software Gets Funds For Platform Buying

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Tags M&A’s Dan Rayburn hears that Akamai is closing in on its very own tag management company. Rayburn writes, “Over the past two months, Akamai’s been on a buying spree and it sounds like it may not be over. After agreeing to buy Cotendo for $268M and acquiring Blaze for what is rumored to be a $12-$15M evaluation, multiple industry sources say Akamai is in negotiations to buy Chicago-based and privately held BrightTag.” BrightTag received $5 million in August. Was it just a bridge loan of sorts until a suitor came along? Read it. Managing tags or pixels is another way to lock in Ecommerce pubs. Perhaps Akamai is on its way to building an Adobe-like marketing stack. If so, a few more acquisitions could be coming. How about Akamai getting into the video ad business? DG, which has an HD ad delivery business and MediaMind/Eyewonder/Unicast, is currently selling for ONLY $400 million in the public markets. As you may recall, $400 mil was what MediaMind was acquired for.

OpenX Sees Profit

Another earnings report from a private ad tech company hit the wires yesterday. OpenX, which has a display ad exchange and publisher ad server among other offerings, announced that it has “achieved a profitable fourth quarter as well as exceeding an annualized revenue run rate of more than $100M.” Though it’s unclear how much of the annualized $100 million is media costs pulsing through its exchange during a busy, commerce-driven Q4 – for which OpenX may make 20% or so, for example – profit is profit whether its gross or net. Read the OpenX blog. In an interview with All Things D’s Kara Swisher, CEO Tim Cadogan touches on recent company highlights including the impact of real-time bidding and the slowing growth of search vs. the increasing growth of display. See it.

Interest Opportunity For News

News sites are not drinking the data-driven Kool-aid. So says a new study from The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. According to the report, “…With only a handful of exceptions, the ads on news sites tend not to be targeted based on the interests of users, the strategy that many experts consider key to the future of digital revenue.” If you’re targeting the news category with digital solutions it may be good news. There’s plenty of room for growth – including potentially, less lucrative house ads being shown 21% of the time.

Marin Software Raises

Media buying platform Marin Software has taken in another $30 million to bring its grand total to $80 million raised since its inception. The company says in a release that it has doubled its client list to 1,500 in a year. With Efficient Frontier out of the way since Adobe acquired it in December, Marin, Kenshoo and Clickable are looking to make strong cases to their own potential acquirers for media tech and services centered around search and branching into Facebook and display. Read the release. Meanwhile, Kenshoo added another name to its client list as the company said it will provide search platform services to Expedia. Read more.


On ClickZ, Anna Maria Virzi quotes JWT North America CEO David Eastman during Social Media week in NYC who says, “Facebook ‘has become the default tool for lazy marketers who really don’t know what to do. No one got fired for buying IBM. Today’s equivalent is no one gets fired for marketing on Facebook.'” Read more. There could be worse places for Facebook to be in.

The Data Locker

In a NY Times article, a company called Personal – and others – are betting that it can make serious cash with the management of consumers’ privacy needs online. The NY Times’ Josh Brustein explains, “Many of the new ideas center on a concept known as the personal data locker. People keep a single account with information about themselves. Businesses would pay for this data because it allows them to offer personalized products and advertising. And because people retain control over the data in their lockers, they can demand something of value in return.” Read more.

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