Luxembourg-Based RTL Group Acquires SpotX

RTL Group, an original investor in SpotX, will acquire a 36.4% stake in the video ad-serving platform, bringing its total ownership to 100%. The Luxembourg-based broadcasting, content, and digital entertainment giant owned by German giant Bertelsmann had acquired a 65% stake worth $144 million in SpotX in July 2014. The companies said the purchase of the remaining shares by RTL Group is based on an enterprise value of SpotX of $404 million on a 100% basis plus net cash.

SpotX said co-founder and CEO Mike Shehan and co-founder, COO and CFO Steve Swoboda will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the company. SpotX said it has nearly doubled net revenues since RTL Group’s original investment, along with opening seven offices in seven countries and adding 150 employees. The acquisition is scheduled to close in October.

“Back in 2014, the majority stake in SpotX was our first big step into advertising technology; gaining full ownership now is another major step in transforming RTL Group into a 'total video' powerhouse,” stated Bert Habets and Guillaume de Posch, co-CEOs of RTL Group in commenting on the deal.

RTL Group has been busy investing over the last few years. It pumped $127 million into StyleHaul, a Los Angeles-based fashion and beauty YouTube video network in 2014, took a controlling stake in BroadbandTV, and a minority stake in Divimove in 2013. More recently, in 2015, it led a $19.4 million Series B funding round in Clypd, a sell-side programmatic television company. RTL Group has interests in nearly 60 television stations and more than 30 radio stations in 10 countries.

SpotX’s Shehan cited increasing traction for advertising-supported over-the-top content, whether on-demand, live, or linear. He said SpotX is well-positioned to capitalize on monetization of over-the-top TV content delivery, and to help broadcasters increase their profitability in the new content delivery ecosystem. “With RTL Group's partnership, resources and commitment to additional investments, SpotX will be even better positioned to play a major role in this historic transformation of TV,” Shehan told Digital News Daily.

Current clients of SpotX’s platform include broadcasters and publishers such as Thomson Reuters, Meredith Local Media Group, Vevo, Gutefrage, TVPlayer, STV, RTL Nederland, and Conde Nast; app developers, like Gameloft and Cheetah Mobile; OTT providers, such as Sling TV, Vudu, and Pluto TV; and CTV software providers, like Anypoint Media, MAZ Digital, and Zype.
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