RTL Group has agreed to sell SpotX to Magnite. It will create the largest independent connected television and video advertising platform in the programmatic marketplace. The purchase price consists of $560 million in cash and 14 million shares of Magnite stock, with an implied valuation of $1.17 billion or €977 million. Magnite, based in Los Angeles, was formed from the merger of Rubicon Project and Telaria. RTL retains its interest in advertising technology through Smartclip and Yospace.
SpotX had $116 million in net revenue in 2020, of which $67 million was from connected television. The combined company would have had an estimated net revenue of $350 million in 2020.
“Sellers have been looking for a scaled independent alternative to the giant companies who dominate the CTV marketplace,” said Michael Barrett, the chief executive of Magnite. “The combination of Magnite and SpotX will make this a reality by bringing together the best CTV technologies and teams at a critical time. Ad-supported CTV is just beginning to draw budgets from linear TV and we will be well-positioned to participate in the strongest segment of industry growth for the foreseeable future.”
Magnite was itself formed from the merger of Rubicon Project and Telaria in April 2020, rebranded as Magnite in June.
RTL Group acquired a 65 per cent majority shareholding in SpotX for €107 million in 2014 and took full ownership of SpotX in 2017, acquiring the remaining shareholding for €123 million.
“The sale of SpotX is fully in line with our strategy to concentrate on growing our European digital businesses in streaming, advertising technology, digital video and audio as well as our global content business, Fremantle,” said Thomas Rabe, the chief executive of RTL Group. “SpotX is a fantastic business, focused on the United States and with significant potential,” he said. We look forward to participating in the future success of SpotX and Magnite as shareholders in the combined entity.”
The RTL chief executive emphasised that advertising technology remains a strategic priority for RTL Group, identifying two factors necessary to transform the business successfully. “One is higher reach, in both linear and non-linear TV. The second is better monetisation of our reach, through targeting and personalisation — and this requires state-of-the-art advertising technology and data management.”
RTL retains its interest in Smartclip, part of RTL Deutschland, and Yospace, the British company acquired by RTL Group in January 2019 for €29 million.
“With our European ad-tech companies Smartclip and Yospace, we have made significant progress in building an open European ad-tech platform and in tapping into the high-growth market of addressable TV advertising,” said the RTL chief executive.
RTL Group has interests in 68 television channels, ten streaming platforms and 31 radio stations. The television portfolio of Europe’s largest broadcaster includes RTL Television in Germany, M6 in France, the RTL channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Croatia, Hungary and Antena 3 in Spain.
The production group, Fremantle, produces over 12,000 hours of original programming and distributing over 30,000 hours of programming worldwide.
The majority shareholder in RTL Group is Bertelsmann, the German privately held media conglomerate.