AT&T’s Xandr Prepares to Buy Clypd from RTL

14 months after it closed its purchase of AppNexus, AT&T is on the hunt again for more ad tech. This time it is doubling down on television with the intended acquisition of Clypd from RTL, Europe’s largest broadcaster.

According to multiple sources with knowledge of the developments, AT&T’s ad-tech unit Xandr is poised to announce the purchase of U.S.-based Clypd, a TV-focused start-up that is majority-owned by RTL.

The sum of the intended purchase remains unclear although one source speaking with Adweek on background, to spare political blow-back, with knowledge of the ad-tech landscape estimated that the transaction would be substantially less than $100 million.

A Xandr spokesperson declined to comment.

Adweek understands that the proposed deal will close after Xandr parent AT&T issues its third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 28, just six weeks after shareholder group Elliott Management publicly set out a plan to turnaround the telco’s “underperforming” share price.

It also crowns a two-year period that saw AT&T appoint former GroupM chief Brian Lesser who set up and led Xandr, following its multi-billion dollar shopping-spree that included purchasing Time Warner (now WarnerMedia) plus ad-tech company AppNexus.

AT&T leadership seeks to heighten Xandr’s stature in its bid to shore up ad revenue opportunities after naming Xandr Media president Rick Welday as evp, AT&T Business and WarnerMedia, effectively acting as a bridge between the two teams.

RTL invested $19.4 million in Clypd in 2015 (the start-up has raised $30.8 million in total according to its Crunchbase profile) with the pan-European broadcaster setting about using it to harmonizing its other ad tech investments, a process it continued with the January purchase of Yospace.

However, RTL has reportedly rethought its ambitions in the ad-tech space and taken it in a direction that potentially plays into the hands of AT&T, which is seeking to fill some of the gaps left in its tech wares, according to sources.

Clypd provides targeted advertising services geared towards bringing efficiencies to both the linear and OTT advertising spaces, including private marketplace services, with its parent-company recently pairing it RTL stablemate SpotX to achieve such synergies.

One source speaking with Adweek upon the condition of anonymity said Xandr’s purchase of Clypd would complement its earlier ad-tech investments given that AppNexus did not launch a fully-fledged video advertising product until 2016.

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