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Comcast’s FreeWheel Buys French Programmatic Video-Ad Network StickyAds.tv

Cable giant's FreeWheel online-ad division paying more than $100 million for StickyAds, according to report

Comcast’s FreeWheel online-video division has acquired StickyAds.tv, a French company that provides tools and a private exchange for video publishers to sell ads programmatically, it announced Monday.

StickyAds says its mission is to help premium publishers “embrace programmatic video in a controlled and totally transparent manner.” The company’s customers include France’s TF1, Yahoo, Deezer, France Télévisions and Spiegel TV, and it claims to serve more than 7,000 websites in 150 countries worldwide.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast is paying more than $100 million in cash for StickyAds, according to a Business Insider report. The deal was previously reported by Re/code.

The acquisition of StickyAds comes two years after Comcast acquired FreeWheel, which provides ad-insertion and ad management for digital video, in a deal worth up to $375 million. Comcast has maintained FreeWheel as an autonomous division.

“We are bringing together two companies who deeply understand the opportunities for the ‘new TV’ ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic,” Doug Knopper, co-founder and co-CEO of FreeWheel, said in announcing the pact. Since StickyAds.tv became a preferred FreeWheel partner in September 2015, “in that short time we have been thoroughly impressed by both the quality of their platform and the knowledge of their team,” he added.

StickyAds, founded in late 2009, had raised about $6 million from investors including Ventech and Isai. Its headquarters is in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, with offices in New York, London, Madrid, Hamburg and Milan. The company was founded by CEO Hervé Brunet and COO Gilles Chetelat, both former sales execs with telecom-equipment vendor Redback Networks (now part of Ericsson).

“We are convinced that the combination of our companies will benefit our respective client bases, most notably the largest TV broadcasters,” Brunet said in a statement. “Our focus on a private exchange, server-side architecture is perfectly aligned with FreeWheel’s technology in addressing the specific needs of premium publishers.”

According to Brunet, StickyAds.tv has 110 employees globally, who will join FreeWheel with the acquisition.

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