What: Global holding WPP has acquired mobile ad platform and campaign management firm Medialets as a wholly owned subsidiary for an undisclosed sum.As part of the agreement, WPP’s holdings clients will be able to use Medialets’ tech. However, Medialets will continue to run independently, with plans to expand internationally.
Why it matters: WPP owns media buying conglomerate GroupM. Observers say with irony that the “M” in GroupM stands for “Mobile”. Mobile marketing know-how is key to the major ad agencies.
Global holding WPP has acquired mobile ad platform Medialets as a wholly owned subsidiary. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.As part of the agreement, WPP’s holdings clients will be able to use Medialets’ tech.
According to Eric Litman, Medialets CEO and co-founder, the company will continue to run independently, with plans to expand internationally, invest in capabilities around attribution and identity and up its headcount “significantly” from where it stands now at 50+. Litman also said that Medialets will go on working with its existing big agency holding company clients, including Publicis, Omnicom and Interpublic. “We may be a wholly owned subsidiary,” but WPP won’t have access to Medialets’ client data, which will remain “distinct,” Litman said.
WPP first started working with Medialets in 2014 when MediaCom began using Servo, Medialets’ buy-side mobile ad serving and attribution tool, for its clients globally. The relationship grew from there.
Litman also suggested that WPP’s motivation behind the deal may be in order to maintain certain independence from the media sellers that are increasingly owning the buy-side tech stack.
“We silo data from client to client to prevent even people inside our own company from looking at data or manipulating data. WPP has GroupM, Mediacom, MEC, Maxis, Mindshare and Kantar, which have all sorts of interesting data. We’ll be able to work with each and all of them, as well as folks outside the WPP fold,” Litman said.“The whole world of digital media is evolving to look an awful lot like a mobile device,” Litman said. “We’re bringing mobile skill and advanced mobile technology into an organization large enough to bring it to global scale,” he added.
Since it was founded in 2008, Medialets has raised US $33.4 million in five rounds . In addition to its holding company clients, Medialets has worked with large brands, including American Express, P&G, HBO, Toyota, Goodyear, Chase and Dunkin’ Donuts. The company will continue to run daily operations out of its existing office in New York.