True, the financial picture portrayed in its F-1 filing shows a company with a striking compound annual growth rate of 100% since 2010. And a surprisingly large portion of its revenue (76%, excluding traffic acquisition costs) comes from clients with no budget cap – suggesting it's not as dependent on insertion orders as Rocket Fuel is.
However Criteo, like any ad network company (even if it is an "ad network 2.0"), is vulnerable to margin pressure.
"Gross margins have declined as the cost of inventory has risen," noted Richard Fetyko, SVP Internet tech and media at ABR Investment Strategy. "The margin compression came from EMEA, Criteo's core markets, vs. the Americas and APAC. The space is getting more competitive. That's the biggest worry I have."
In its IPO roadshow, Criteo has touched on some of the same buzz phrases Rocket Fuel hammered before going public, including "big data" and "computer science." And it has talked up its integration with its customers' CRM systems and how it can leverage granular product and customer data.
Criteo's underwriters include Jeffries, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.