The deal follows an uptick in advertising technology investments from WPP Group, Publicis Groupe's chief rival. In separate deals this fall, WPP divested itself of technology and data holdings in exchange for a position in two ad platform companies.
In September it transferred ownership of its Open AdStream ad server to AppNexus in a deal that gave it a substantial 15% ownership of AppNexus. (AdExchanger story) And last week WPP took possession of 12.4% of Rentrak, in the form of $98 million worth of stock. In exchange, Rentrak received Kantar Media’s US-based TV measurement business. It's probably too early to call it a trend, but industry observers – and startup execs in need of cash – will certainly be looking closer at the holding companies as a possible source of "liquidity."
Below is a rundown of stock sales from the investor release. The usual lockup restrictions that accompany sales of stock were waived to allow the transaction.
Notably, the collective holdings of these four investors shrinks from an approximately 53% stake to 33% post-sale.