Singtel-owned Amobee has won the auction for Videology’s assets with a bid worth $117,300,000. As we reported earlier in the week, a consortium of broadcasters — including ITV, ProSieben.Sat1 Mediaset, TF1 and Channel 4 — had entered the race and were willing to invest in a management buy-out. That bid (listed as ‘ITV’ on the Bankrupty Court’s documentation) came very close. Their final bid of $118,000,000 fell slightly short of the $119,100,000 required to stay in the race.
The acquisition will strengthen Amobee’s video proposition considerably as the company (along with many of the major multichannel DSPs) doesn’t have a particularly strong reputation for video. Amobee itself was acquired by Singtel in March 2012 for $321 million. Since the company has enjoyed Singtel’s backing in order to add to its stack. In June 2014, Amobee acquired two of its competitors: Adconion Direct for $235M and Kontera for $150M. Then in February of 2017, Amobee announced an agreement to acquire Turn, a DSP, for $310 million.
In spite of the fact that the bid led by ITV didn’t complete, insiders familiar with the auction said it shows just how committed the broadcasters are to investing in proprietary ad technology. “Who knows were Singtel would have gone, but ITV really went toe-to-toe right up to the line. Safe to say that nobody really expected it to go for that price,” said one source.
The very fact that European broadcasters are willing to not only co-operate on pooling inventory via initiatives like EBX, but are willing to actually invest in owning their own technology, is something of a milestone in the European industry and illustrates how far the TV industry has come in its strategic thinking. Even if they do go on to either buy or perhaps even build their own technology, it’s going to be equally interesting to see if they can make it work, given the complications we’ve seen many sell-side co-operatives encounter, not to mention the problems associated with remaining innovative over time.