Bankrupt ad-tech firm Sizmek is spinning off its contextual targeting business into a standalone company headed by a former exec
D Dipasupil/Getty Images for Advertising Week New York
- Ad-tech firm Sizmek has been spinning off its assets after filing for bankruptcy protection in March.
- Now, its contextual targeting arm, called Peer39, is being spun off as a stand-alone company by a group of industry veterans.
- Ad-tech veteran and former Sizmek vet Mario Diez was tapped as CEO, said a source close to the situation.
- Other parts of Sizmek have gone to Amazon, which agreed to acquire Sizmek's ad server and creative tools; and Zeta Global.
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Bankrupt ad-tech firm Sizmek is nearing the end of selling off pieces of its business.
After declaring bankruptcy in March, Sizmek is spinning off Peer39, software that contextually targets ads, into a stand-alone company headed up by industry veterans, Business Insider has learned.
In 2017, Sizmek claimed to be the "largest independent buy-side platform" for brands and agencies. But growing competition from Google and Facebook and a rocky integration with RocketFuel led the firm to sell off its technology in pieces.
Sizmek, formerly known as DG, purchased Peer39 in 2012 for $15.5 million. Peer39's software lets advertisers target ads contextually based on the site or content that a consumer looks at.
Ad-tech veteran Mario Diez has been tapped to run the new company, said a source close to the situation. Diez is the former CEO of ad-tech company Pointroll, which was acquired by Sizmek for $20 million from Tegna in 2015.
Sizmek declined to comment.
Contextual targeting could be a hot acquisition target
Three sources noted that Peer39 could be potentially lucrative as a stand-alone company.
Peer39's biggest competitor is Grapeshot, which was acquired by Oracle for a reported $325 million last year. Several ad-tech insiders speculated that Peer39's leadership might try to sell it to another big marketing cloud like Salesforce or Adobe or to another ad-tech firm.
Peer39 also addresses marketers' growing privacy and regulation challenges. Over the past year, stricter privacy and regulation changes like Europe's General Data Protection Regulation and the upcoming California Consumer Privacy Act in the US.
Such regulation has removed advertisers' ability to target ads granularly with third-party data, and some marketers expect to move more dollars towards contextual-based advertising. Both Google and Apple have recently taken big steps to crack down on third-party data.
Sizmek continues to sell off its business
Peer39 is the last part of Sizmek's business that the company is selling.
In April, marketing cloud firm Zeta Global acquired Sizmek's demand-side and data-management platforms for roughly $40 million. According to CEO David Steinberg, the Sizmek assets will help marketers better target ads using first-party data.
Two weeks ago, Amazon signed a definitive agreement to acquire Sizmek's ad server and its Dynamic Creative Optimization business, a tool that lets brands plan one campaign and target ads to different audiences. Experts expected for that deal to directly target Google's ad server formerly known as DoubleClick.
However, on Friday, French ad-tech company Ycor, which owns Weborama, announced that it plans to top Amazon's bid for the assets. Ycor is a holding company owned by Publicis Chairman Maurice Lévy.
In a statement, a Sizmek spokesperson said that the next hearing for Sizmek's ad server will be held on June 18.