Cadent to acquire AdTheorent for $324M

Novacap-backed convergent TV adtech vendor Caden agreed to acquire AdTheorent, a machine learning-powered advertising performance tech platform and targeting vendor for programmatic, for $3.21 per share, or around $324 million, in cash.

With the acquisition, announced Monday, Cadent says it creates one of the largest independent omnichannel audience activation platforms for advertising buyers and sellers. The combined entity plans to provide expanded performance advertising tools that serve both digital and traditional TV markets, helped by advanced machine learning and a unified media and data marketplace. AdTheorent has a machine learning-powered media buying platform that underpins predictive targeting, audiences, and audience extension tools. With AdTheorent, Cadent said, together, the company will serve nearly 1,000 advertisers, partnering with leading holding companies, agency groups, independent agencies and premium publishers.

“Together, Cadent and AdTheorent will enable our customers to drive performance across all strategic audiences, no matter where they consume media or where they are in the sales funnel,” said Nick Troiano, CEO of Cadent, in a statement. “We will connect the worlds of programmatic and TV, providing solutions across our partner ecosystem that will drive next-generation omnichannel reach and performance results.”

AdTheorent has ID-independent machine learning and algorithmic audience tools that pair with Cadent’s cookieless household identity graph to help unify fragmented audiences for advertisers. Some of AdTheorent’s audience-focused data and services include predictive targeting, geo-intelligence, cross-environment mapping, as well tech-driven in-house creative products. The company says its predictive machine learning models that power its product suite and flexible transaction models enable advertisers to identify the most qualified potential consumers, paired with the optimal creative experience to deliver superior results, measured by advertisers’ respective business goals.

“AdTheorent’s customer-focused culture, award-winning technology and commitment to innovation has helped our team build a strong brand that is a recognized leader in performance-first programmatic advertising,” said James Lawson, CEO of AdTheorent, in a statement. “In Cadent, we’ve found a partner with a shared commitment to delivering measurable results for customers, and a complementary vision for the future of omnichannel advertising.”

Montreal-based private equity firm Novacap acquired Cadent in August 2023 and provided strategic services and funding to support the transaction. The deal has been approved by the AdTheorent Board of Directors and is expected to close in approximately 90 days. Moelis & Company LLC is acting as lead financial advisor to Cadent while Canaccord Genuity is serving as financial advisor to AdTheorent in connection with the proposed transaction.

Speaking to StreamTV Insider in August 2023, Cadent’s CEO discussed the acquisition by Novacap, which valued the company at $600 million, citing plans to pursue M&A as one of the tactics to grow the business and model.

In terms of what Cadent would be looking for in its M&A pursuits, Troiano at the time described a strategy of adding complementary technologies as it works to further unify the adtech stack and targeting entities that bring at least one of three “As” to the table, including aggregation, automation and attribution. In seeking companies to boost automation, the chief executive pointed to a desire for efficiency.

“We built and bought companies that allow us to unify the total ad stack but there are holes for us,” he said in August. “So that could be technologies that augment automation that allow us to expand.”

In attribution, Troiano cited an aim of making sense of data and measurement in a fragmented and overlapping ecosystem.

“There are companies that, not necessarily in the measurement space, but touch measurement,” he said at the time. “Could be data, privacy, and areas of reporting that I think would strengthen our aggregation, automation, attribution play.”

Cadent already marked success with M&A before the Novacap deal. That includes moving into digital and CTV space, along with an identify graph to follow audiences across supply channels, through its January 2020 acquisition of 4INFO. In early 2023 it bought a digital marketplace, acquiring EMX by Big Village’s SSP (supply-side platform) technology in a bankruptcy auction, which Toriano said was about getting Cadent closer to the supply side, including to FAST channels, and fragmented audiences.

“I think we are strongly positioned, uniquely positioned to take TV dollars and move them into digital and CTV, or to bring digital technologies into a new forefront for how audiences come together,” Troiano told STV last year.