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As Ad Sector Focuses on Data, Lots of Deals Get Done

Big vendors are making big money

This summer has been hot for ad tech deals.

After a few rough years where many of the biggest ad tech companies saw their valuations crater, a handful of recent deals among some of the industry’s largest players anecdotally indicate that investor confidence is rising. Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser just started covering his first ad tech stocks after noticing that they’re trading more frequently, which implies there is more investor interest. The past month and a half have been busy for ad tech investors.

“Thematically, we are seeing in ad and martech the progression from overinflated expectations to the trough of disillusionment and now in the slope of enlightenment,” said Elgin Thompson, managing director of investment bank Digital Capital Advisors.

The big deals

Data is a popular commodity these days. A December 2017 survey of 650 IT decision-makers worldwide by MuleSoft showed that most said their companies are investing in big data and analytics.

What it means

Each of these companies occupies a different part of the Lumascape and their investments vary from funding rounds to acquisitions, so there are no hard and fast trends to draw from this activity. What’s worth noting is that these firms are some of the most recognizable names in ad tech and are headed by industry power players. For instance, the CEOs of MediaMath and AppNexus have invested in over a dozen other tech firms combined.

“The only commonality is that these companies are at scale,” Thompson said. “There is an entire swatch of middle market ad tech and martech companies praying for a trickle-down effect. We’ll see if that unlocks in a meaningful way.”