Integral Ad Science (IAS), an ad tech business focused on ad measurement and verification, has agreed a deal to buy Publica, a connected TV advertising platform, for $220 million. The acquisition comes as part of IAS’s strategy of diversifying its product beyond its core ad verification business, and gives the company a significant stake in the fast-growing connected-TV space.
Publica’s business has some crossover with IAS, as it runs analytics for its clients’ CTV campaigns. But a lot of Publica’s tools, which cover server-side ad insertion, header bidding in CTV environments, and ad pod automation, will expand IAS’s business into new areas.
“CTV viewership and programmatic advertising have skyrocketed, and by acquiring Publica we’re accelerating our growth to offer publishers the tools to capitalize on this opportunity,” said Lisa Utzschneider, CEO at IAS. “Advanced data and technology will fuel the future of addressable CTV advertising. Now video publishers can increase their revenue, and in the future we will help advertisers with a trusted way to measure the results of their growing CTV budgets.”
The deal marks an impressive exit for Publica, which has no reported funding rounds on Crunchbase. The company has picked up some major clients in the CTV space, including ViacomCBS, Fox Corp, and Philo. And Publica appears to have performed well over the past few years, taking on new staff and expanding into Europe even during the depths of the pandemic.
Now, Publica will sit as part of IAS’s product portfolio, with Publica’s CEO Ben Antier reporting directly to IAS’s Lisa Utzachneider.
The deal comes during a period of significant change for IAS. Private equity group Vista Equity Partners bought a majority stake in IAS back in 2018. Since then, IAS has used M&A as a means to diversifying its business. In 2019 IAS bought ADmantX, a specialist in contextual advertising. And earlier this year it acquired Amino Payments, a business which aims to provide transparency into programmatic advertising.
This latest deal is also the first made by IAS since it went public at the end of June. The company has had a mixed fate on the stock market so far. Its share price shot up from its debut price of $18 to over $22 on its first day. But it has fluctuated since then, currently sitting at $17.25.