Isn’t it about time Turn, the big web advertising buyer, went public?
The signs suggest that may be a possibility:
- The company claims it is the No.1 “demand-side platform” among real-time bidding web ad buyers.
- A source tells us its annualized revenues are on course for $300 million.
- It has reportedly taken $57.5 million in venture funding — those people want to see a return on their investment at some point.
- And in April, Turn hired a new CFO, Joe Nemeth from Adobe. Nemeth’s pedigree is in big transactions.
Mr. Nemeth brings a wealth of M&A and finance experience to Turn, which could signal a few things. For one, it may mean Turn is ready to go on an acquisition spree and wanted someone on board who has had a hand in many, including Adobe’s giant $1.8 billion purchase of Omniture. Yet the more likely subtext is that the company is hiring a finance pro to get the necessary processes in place ahead of a not-so-distant IPO – perhaps in the next 12 to 18 months.
So we asked CEO Bill Demas if Turn was ramping up for an IPO in the foreseeable future. He said: “I wouldn’t rule anything out. We’re always open to any potential option.”
When asked about Nemeth, however, he elaborated: “He was the former No.2 executive at Adobe on the financial team. He has a lot of experience with Wall Street, he has a lot of experience acquiring companies, and he will give us a lot of help with our stats on a go-forward basis around liquidity.”
Turn sits at that newly sexy intersection of Big Data and RTB web advertising — which would make it tempting to retail and public investors. It operates both a “demand-side platform” (which buys web ads triggered by tracking cookies) and a “data management platform” (whch crunches the numbers).
“Every decision we make is about long-term investment, and about saysfying clients, and being innovative,” he added. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Read into that what you will.
Turn is in fine health, Demas says. It has about 250 employees in 17 offices on four continents. It was profitable on an EBITDA basis in 2011 and 2012, Demas says. Turn’s clients include five of the six largest ad agencies in the world, along with Autotrader
AT&T and Experian.
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