WPP’s Xaxis To Acquire Triad Retail Media

triadimgXaxis, the WPP Group-owned programmatic media platform, snapped up the ecommerce ad tech business Triad Retail Media on Thursday.

Triad handles media sales for major ecommerce sites, including those operated by Walmart, Sam’s Club, eBay, StubHub, Staples and Toys R Us.

Triad’s gross revenue was more than $500 million in 2015, up from approximately $170 million in 2012, as Triad CEO Roger Berdusco previously told AdExchanger. Net revenue in 2015 surpassed $120 million. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but an unnamed source told The Wall Street Journal its value was approximately $300 million.

“Big picture, our goal is how do we bridge the gap between marketing and sales,” said Xaxis global CEO Brian Gleason to AdExchanger.

“We’d been having ongoing evaluations about how to enter the ecommerce and mcommerce category, and the challenge is unless you’re Amazon how do you build out those retail relationships?” said Gleason.

Triad brings a hard-won roster of retail clients and almost 700 employees, a notable expansion of Xaxis’ boots-on-the-ground sales and account teams. In return Triad is relieved of the heavy burden of tech-stack development.

“We spend more than $50 million a year on internal technology,” said Gleason. WPP also has relationships with untapped retail and ecommerce players who have yet to adopt ad tech monetization.

“Bundling up Triad’s service to apply to a wider, global customer set is really exciting,” said Gleason. “The largest potential benefit of the synergy is figuring out how do we work with a WPP division like Kantar to really get into the attribution loop.”

Triad’s current offering to retail companies focuses on direct and programmatic sales representation across retail partner apps and sites.

Retail media is having a big month. Triad’s acquisition comes a week after the ecommerce pure-play Criteo spent $250 million on HookLogic, a retail ad exchange that competes with Triad (and even shares some major clients, like Walmart and Kohl’s).

“Xaxis’ existing scale is worth reviewing to more fully appreciate the news,” wrote Brian Wieser, senior analyst at the equity research firm Pivotal, in a note to clients.

The acquisition keeps Xaxis squarely ahead of Criteo in terms of overall ecommerce advertising volume and revenue, said Wieser, and, “Xaxis will now represent an increasingly significant amount of digital ad inventory – still well behind the industry’s giants Alphabet’s Google, Facebook, Verizon and Twitter, but most likely still among the top ten sellers outside of China.”

In spite of apparent synergies with Xaxis, but Triad will continue operating as an independent brand and subsidiary, said Gleason. It’s a substantive distinction considering retailers are more open to working with an independent retail tech company than turning over ad inventory to an agency holding company that non-transparently buys media.

“In the end retailers want the same thing Xaxis and Triad want,” said Gleason. “Which is to get as close to brands as they can.”


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