Private equity firm Vector Capital has acquired Triton Digital, a digital audio firm whose proprietary tech connects audio supply to advertising demand. The deal closed Monday morning for an undisclosed sum.
Triton Digital has been building out its nascent programmatic business through SaaS solutions designed for publishers and advertisers since 2006. The company has a client roster that includes Pandora, iHeartMedia, Spotify, CBS Radio and NPR Digital Services, among others.
“This partnership will allow Triton to accelerate our growth through investments into our products, customers and partners,” Triton Digital President and CEO Neal Schore said in a press release. “As our marketplace and company head into the significant growth stage, we couldn’t be more excited to forge forward with Vector.”
Triton’s a2x tech, an audio ad exchange, is among the industry’s first audience-based programmatic buying tools build to facilitate online and mobile digital audio spots. This in particular attracted Vector Capital’s attention.
Schore told Radio Ink Mag that Triton’s COO Mike Agovino will move into an adviser role for “an extended period,” while Triton Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Reynolds is heading for the exit. Shore said he would take on a more "creative" position in the company.
But the acquisition shouldn’t cause any fallout to Triton’s streaming metrics or corporate strategy, Schore added.
"Since the acquisition, Vector has been working closely with Triton’s management team to develop and execute a long-term strategic growth plan focused on further strengthening and expanding Triton’s market leading product and service capabilities,” said Vector Capital in a statement. Vector Capital is known to focus on technology investments, and the Triton takeover follows February’s agreement to take Saba Software private for $390 million.
Erik Diehn, VP of business development for podcast advertising network Midroll, said Vector’s portfolio is more tech heavy than Oaktree Capital Management, Triton’s previous owner, and that the reason for the buy could be as simple a fact that Triton’s a better fit for Vector. But until the actual terms of the transaction are released, it’s too early to make assumptions.
But Diehn said the exit underscores rising investor interest in digital audio infrastructure.
“The fact that a tech-focused private equity fund is interested in Triton may mean that there is deeper interest in audio infrastructure, which is certainly a sign of a maturing market,” he said.
He compared the evolution to that of display and online video advertising, both of which took a while before infrastructure investments occurred.
“Those usually happen when there’s enough volume of money moving through the market," he said, "enough transaction volume and enough total dollars involved that venture capital and private equity firms can make a scaled play and get the return on capital that they’re looking for.”
Triton Digital declined to comment.