Ycor, Publicis Chairman Maurice Lévy’s personal holding company, announced Friday that it made a bid to top Amazon’s acquisition offer to acquire the assets of Sizmek’s ad server and dynamic creative optimization (DCO) platform.
If successful, Ycor will build a stand-alone company to support ad serving and ensure that it
prospers after the long Chapter 11 process. Then management will consider integrating the technology into its Weborama business, which generated about $35 million in revenue last year by focusing
on artificial intelligence, data, segmentation, and ad serving.
Ycor also will need to bid higher than Amazon's agreed-upon price of $30 million to acquire Sizmek's assets.
For the court to consider another bid, Ycor will need to offer the "highest and best price," a standard in the bankruptcy process, which means not only offering more money, but also that the company making the bid must consider what is best for the employees and the management team.
Alain Lévy, CEO of Weborama and partner at Ycor, said he is also thinking about what is best for the industry and brand advertisers. “We’re interested in the serving parts of Sizmek, being the number two ad server in this field and the only global player aside from Google,” Lévy said. “After building the company we will think about integration, because that’s more of a complicated technical process.”
Lévy said the market needs an alternative ad-serving company to Google, and this move is the key.
The move follows Amazon’s announcement on May 31 of its intent to acquire the assets.
Amazon gaining control of the data and the performance of the campaign should be the biggest concern for advertisers, Lévy said. “When you’re both on the measurement side and own between 60% and 70% of the market, it’s difficult to be transparent,” he said.
Levy declined to state the terms of the bid, but he did say Ycor submitted a “firm” bid to acquire the assets and has been involved in negotiations since April.
Ycor’s bid is connected with the Chapter 11 process, and until the contract closes the executors of the company have a duty to consider the highest bid, according to ad industry insiders.
"The court may allow the trustee or plan administrator to seek higher bidders," said Kevin Lee, executive chairman of Didit.
Following the additional bid, the creditors must determine the next steps as the negotiations go beyond the Assets Purchase Agreement.
The Amazon hearing date is set for June 18, 2019, when the assets purchase agreement will be heard in front of a judge.