Criteo, a performance marketing technology company, has agreed to acquire HookLogic, a privately-held developer of an advertising exchange for e-commerce brands, for about $250 million.
HookLogic partners with retailers including Wal-Mart, Target, Costco and Best Buy to sell sponsored ads related to specific items that appear in product search results on their web pages.
- HookLogic, which has been around since 2004, has raised around $40 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Fung Capital USA, Intel Capital, Mousse Partners and others, Recode reports.
The advertising technology space seems to be going through a major wave of consolidation, as a lot of the media reports on this deal also cite Salesforce's acquisition of Krux, which was announced a day earlier. But Criteo's purchase of HookLogic definitely has more relevance for the retail sector.
HookLogic's approach sounds a little bit like a twist on Google Product Listing Ads, the ads that retailers buy from Google AdWords to appear in search results for products. With HookLogic, brands bid on ad space on a specific e-commerce site in hopes of driving traffic to their products on that site. HookLogic then shares the resulting revenue with its retailer and e-commerce partners.
While many reports call New York-based HookLogic a startup in the ad technology space, it has been around for 12 years. Maybe the description is a reference to overall company size, or the fact that the firm sold for nine figures instead of more, but HookLogic has a partner and customer list — Wal-Mart, Tesco, Target, Asda, Best Buy, Macy’s, Expedia, Hasbro, Intel, LG, L’Oreal, Mondelez, Philips, Microsoft and Marriott — that doesn't make it sound like it's still wet behind the ears.
Those partnerships mean that French firm Criteo gains access to a lot of retailers and brands it may not have worked with before. By integrating it own capabilities with HookLogic, it also can offer a much more comprehensive advertising and performance marketing solution to the e-commerce sector. The combination of capabilities, in fact, sounds like something Google or Amazon would provide, or would want to provide, which might be a big hint at just who this combined play is targeting as a competitor.