Video ad tech company TubeMogul had interest from eight potential acquirers before Adobe bought the company for $540 million earlier this month.
AdExchanger first reported on a new TubeMogul’s SEC filing that reveals a “social media company” and a “foreign telecom company” were among the companies that expressed interest in acquiring the firm.
Neither company’s name is disclosed in the filings, but AdExchanger punts that the telco could be Singtel, the Singapore-based company that has already spent big on ad tech acquisitions including Amobee, Adconion, and Kontera.
Singtel, AdExchanger notes, already invested $10 million in TubeMogul back in 2013, through its venture arm. Business Insider also heard rumours from several ad tech executives back in September that Singtel was on the hunt for a demand-side platform — a service TubeMogul offers — although the deal never materialised. A Singtel spokesperson told Business Insider in September that: “Singtel’s policy is not to comment on rumours and speculation.”
Was the social media company Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat?
As far as the “social media company” is concerned, the SEC filing states a representative of TubeMogul’s bankers Morgan Stanley met with the social media company rep on September 23 to discuss a potential acquisition, thanks to a “strong strategic fit” between the two.
Brett Wilson, TubeMogul CEO, spoke with the social media rep on September 26. However, the social media representative said “given a variety of priorities, [the social media company] might not be able to move quickly.”
But discussions seemed to be progressing and on October 10, representatives of the social media company said it would want to focus on “technology, product, and finance due diligence” in order to come to a firm decision.
The social media company’s “serious” interest continued into November 1, when its representatives had another call with TubeMogul. However, the deal stalled when the next day, the social media company told Morgan Stanley it wouldn’t be able to make a decision within the requested timeline, “given other matters they were focused on.”
So who was the social media company who saw a good strategic fit, but was too busy to pursue the deal?
AdExchanger believes it’s “not far-fetched to assume that Facebook” could have been the mystery company. It already has a partnership with TubeMogul and has a clear strategy to grow its video business.
But on the other hand, Facebook has recently been retrenching its ad tech efforts that concern the wider open web. It shut down its video ad exchange LiveRail in May, blaming ad fraud and viewability issues, and this month Facebook wound down its Atlas ad server.
Could Twitter have been interested in acquiring TubeMogul? Twitter has certainly had a busy couple of months as it bids to turn around its business towards profitability, having announced plans in October to lay off 8% of its staff. Twitter also lost its COO Adam Bain, who may well have been involved in acquisition talks, in November.
Or perhaps it was Snapchat? Recode reported in January that Snapchat had been in early talks to potentially acquire ad tech companies including “bidder-as-a-service” startup Beeswax and programmatic analytics firm Metamarkets. In October, Snapchat opened up its ads API (application programming interface) to third-party ad tech firms — its first step into programmatic ad buying.
The SEC filing also reveals a “media company” and “a financial sponsor who owned a relative portfolio company” were also interested in buying TubeMogul.
TubeMogul was not immediately available to comment.
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