The Rubicon Project’s S-1 filing Tuesday revealed the exact nature of its relationship with News Corporation: The multinational mass-media conglomerate owns 21.3% of Rubicon shares.
This deal, which came about in 2010 when News Corp. folded its advertising platform, Fox Audience Network (FAN), into Rubicon Project and took an equity stake in the ad-tech company, was a turning point for Rubicon Project’s fortunes.
Integrating FAN, which sold inventory for News Corp. sites like MySpace (which News Corp. no longer owns) and had some real-time bidding (RTB) capabilities, gave Rubicon the momentum it needed to expand its RTB services.
In a 2011 interview, Rubicon Project CEO Frank Addante told AdExchanger that FAN was a huge win for the company for several reasons. The benefits included gaining nearly 100 employees and FAN’s ad technology. “FAN brought very mature thinking to us, which we certainly needed if we're going to double the size of the company,” said Addante, who also praised FAN’s products, like the self-service solution MyAds.
“FAN developed a lot of technologies to make MySpace inventory valuable such as targeting technologies like MyAds,” Addante added. “They were one of the inventors of RTB. They built up big, massive data centers because they had to have scale to deal with the MySpace inventory.”
Through the integration, Rubicon Project shuttered FAN’s services as an ad network and added the RTB components of its technology to its own RTB offerings. Since then, Rubicon has enhanced its programmatic services for buyers and sellers, in addition to growing its mobile-focused offerings.
Prior to FAN, Rubicon had acquired a Seattle-based malware-monitoring company called SiteScout (unrelated to the Canada-based DSP SiteScout) and Others Online, an ad-targeting technology startup.
And the benefit was mutual: FAN needed a home after its president, Adam Bain, left for Twitter. News Corp. had also considered merging the FAN platform into MySpace.