Criteo Files IPO To Lead Ad-Targeting Efforts

Retargeting advertising company Criteo filed F-1 registration papers Wednesday to take the company public. At least one analyst puts the valuation between $1 billion and $1.5 billion -- above par financially with companies like Rocket Fuel, Tremor Video, YuMe, and Marin Software.

Criteo, based in France, faces ongoing competitive threats and limits to growth, but also has built a "solid position" for its business, focusing on ecommerce advertising, per Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser. In fact, he attributes 66% of the company's 2012 revenue to the market.

Growth also has come from international markets like the Americas, as well as Japan, where Criteo established a majority-owned subsidiary to work with Yahoo Japan. France, Germany and the United Kingdom represent nearly half of revenue during 2012, while the Japanese market accounted for nearly 10% of revenue, according to Wieser.

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The company aims to raise up to $190 million for a listing in the United States. Criteo's business fundamentals are strong, agrees Sam Barnett, founder of ad-targeting company Struq. "Criteo has the greatest revenue of all recent ad tech IPOs because advanced personalized retargeting has shown to grow ecommerce businesses online, which has increased customer stickiness and the quality of Criteo's revenue," he said. "Advanced personalized retargeting is very competitive and requires significant IP."

Along with Criteo's IP, strong revenue growth should result in a very successful IPO, Barnett said, adding that there is no public offering in his company's future.

In July, Criteo acquired AD-X Tracking, a tool for tracking, monitoring and reporting advertising performance on mobile applications. The platform integrates with hundreds of mobile companies worldwide tracking more than 1 billion app interactions monthly. The company works with brands and agencies like eBay, Expedia and M&C Saatchi.

Criteo also hired former Dell marketing chief Kathleen Schneider to the new role of senior vice president for marketing and communication, responsible for leading the company's brand strategy, press communications, and overall marketing strategy.
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