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Amazon's Sizmek Buy in Question as Lévy's Ycor Bids

June 10 2019

Ycor, a French company owned by Publicis chairman Maurice Lévy, says it has put in its own bid for the Ad Server and DCO units of struggling tech firm Sizmek, higher than that of retail giant Amazon, and with the aim of maintaining an independent option for the industry.

Alain LévyYcor is the parent of semantic profiling specialist Weborama, which it says could be combined with Sizmek's technology for give marketers and agencies an 'independent, neutral and transparent ad server player... powered by dedicated cutting-edge technologies'.

Sizmek, an MRC-accredited buy-side advertising platform described as the last major independent player in the sector, initiated voluntary proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the Spring, and said it was looking for capital and reviewing options to cope with debt. Two weeks ago, digital retail behemoth Amazon said it was buying the company's Ad Server and DCO personalization tools, boosting its own rapidly growing advertising business. However, bankruptcy laws say the court handling the sale has a fiduciary duty to secure the highest bid for Sizmek's creditors - these include Index Exchange, PubMatic, OpenX and AppNexus, for $8.9m, $7.3m, $5.9m and $5.3m, respectively, according to media news site www.thedrum.com .

This means the new and larger bid must be taken into account. Alain Lévy (pictured), son of Maurice and CEO of Weborama / Partner at Ycor, says the two firms have spent the last two months sizing up the potential bid, and concluded that 'overbidding today the existing offer is the best decision from an industry perspective'. Lévy concedes that Amazon will have vastly greater resources available if a bidding war develops, but adds: 'Today, we make a financial commitment, taking into account what is at stake for the industry as a whole: prevent the advent of a duopoly. We do believe that no one should turn a blind eye on Sizmek Ad Server being possibly acquired by a global platform - be it Amazon or another. Choice must prevail'.

Sizmek has responded with a statement, saying: 'We've signed an agreement for Amazon to acquire Sizmek's ad server and DCO assets and are seeking expeditious Court approval for it. The transaction represents a great opportunity, and we are excited about what it means for our business, our employees, and our creditors. We are respectful of the Court-supervised sale process and will provide more information to stakeholders when appropriate'.

Web sites: www.weborama.com , www.ycor.io and www.sizmek.com .

All articles 2006-22 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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