Next Steps For Millennial Now That The Nexage Deal Is Official

MillennialNexageNexage is the cherry on top of Millennial Media’s multiscoop technology sundae.

Millennial’s acquisition of Nexage, first announced in September, officially closed on Thursday evening.

“Not to sound like Jerry Maguire, but the Nexage deal completes us,” said Matt Gillis, president of platforms at Millennial Media.

Millennial has been actively acquiring tech since early last year. First came mobile media buying and targeting platform Metaresolver in February 2013, followed about six months later by the acquisition of JumpTap, which brought Millennial much-needed DMP and DSP capabilities.

With the Nexage grab, which will cost Millennial $107.5 million in cash and stock, the company is on its way to what it hopes is programmatic glory. Millennial has been vocal about its intention to become a serious programmatic player. As CEO Michael Barrett put it during the company’s Q3 2014 earnings call last month, Nexage “complete[s] our vision of creating an end-to-end full stack.”

Easier said than done, of course, but with automation in-house, Millennial could start to get its financials on the road to recovery. Although revenue was up for Millennial the past several quarters, the company has not reported profits during that time.

Nexage will be fully integrated into Millennial’s existing platform business with Gillis at the helm. It’s a process Gillis said will “continue into 2015.”

Millennial’s advertiser and publisher partners will have access to more than 120 global networks, including the Facebook Audience Network, AdMob and iAd, which recently made the decision to open up its inventory on private exchanges. Millennial will also support direct and private programmatic deals, as well as straight-up RTB auctions.

Millennial’s DMP, which it got via the JumpTap deal, will enable customers to bring their CRM data into the exchange environment and layer it with other third-party data sources.

While Gillis handles the automation side of the business, Admeld and Sociomantic vet Jason Kelly, who joined Millennial in October, heads up the company’s managed media division.

“That creates a nice synergy for us,” Marc Theermann, Millennial Media’s EVP of business strategy, told AdExchanger. “We can help the clients who need a little hand-holding on the managed side while we double down with Nexage on the automation part of it. We’re trying to become the largest independent mobile marketplace in the world.”

Independence is particularly important to Millennial, which prides itself on what Theermann called “data transparency.” In a time when walled gardens are on the ascendancy, “it’s critically important to make advertisers feel welcome in the mobile ecosystem,” he said.

“While there are, of course, many other platforms out there where advertisers can spend at scale, we want to be a platform that gives them data back so they can take those learnings and become smarter for their next campaign,” he said.

Speaking of walled gardens, with the ink now dry on the Nexage deal, Millennial positions itself as a direct competitor to some of the biggest ones out there, including Facebook and Google.

“This is the last piece in the puzzle for us,” Gillis said. “It strengthens our relationship with app developers and advertisers and it gives them more of the tools they need to make make money and make their lives simpler.”

The majority of Nexage’s 80 employees, most of which are based in Boston, will remain in their positions, with the exception of former Nexage CEO Eric Cormier, who will join Millennial’s board of directors. Nexage, whose revenue will likely be reported as a part of Millennial’s platform business going forward, will keep its name for the moment, although Gillis said there will likely be branding changes made down the line.

According to Gillis, Millennial, which for the last year has been working closely with AppNexus as a key source of mobile supply, will “continue to partner” with the platform through its existing hook-up with Nexage.

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