Rubicon Project (NYSE:RUBI), the global exchange for advertising, and Telaria (NYSE: TLRA), the complete software platform that optimises yield for leading video publishers, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine in a stock-for-stock merger. The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, will create the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform, poised to capture growth in CTV.
Together, Rubicon Project and Telaria will enable thousands of publishers to connect with hundreds of buyers and brands, creating a global, independent alternative to closed players in the ecosystem. In addition, the combined company will be an essential omnichannel partner for buyers across formats, screens and geographies. Both companies bring premium publisher partnerships and unique technical capabilities: Telaria as a leader in CTV, and Rubicon Project as an expert in scaled programmatic operations.
“The combination of Rubicon Project and Telaria will establish the world’s largest, independent sell-side advertising platform with scale, capabilities and solutions unmatched by the competition,” said Michael Barrett, President & CEO of Rubicon Project. “This transformative combination builds on our commitment to trust and transparency and accelerates our strategy to provide buyers and sellers with a single path to every format and channel including CTV. We could not be more excited about the future as two individually strong industry leaders with complementary assets and cultures come together to create a market leader that we believe will generate significant opportunities for our employees, customers, partners, and stockholders worldwide.”
“Our businesses are highly complementary, and when combined, are a powerful, strategic alternative to the walled gardens, which have been frustrating both buyers and sellers due to their lack of transparency, innovation bottlenecks, and conflicted business models,” stated Telaria CEO, Mark Zagorski. “The two companies will provide more technology resources, a broader geographic footprint and deeper financial assets to attack the growing opportunity created by the shift from linear viewing to CTV to the benefit of our customers and in support of a thriving open internet. For our stockholders, we believe this merger allows us to accelerate our growth, while providing additional resources to increase investment and continue to scale our industry-leading CTV technology. For our employees, this is an opportunity for development and to fully realize the potential of what we have built these past few years in a scaled, omnichannel platform.”
Strategic Rationale and Financial Benefits
The World’s Largest Independent Sell-Side Advertising Platform: The combination of Rubicon Project’s programmatic scale and expertise with Telaria’s leadership in CTV technology and premium partnerships, will create the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising platform. The result will enable publishers to monetise across all auction types and formats including CTV, desktop display, video, audio, and mobile. Together, the combined company will offer publishers a transparent alternative that supports the open internet and provides more control over how they manage their businesses.
Positioned to Capture the Growing CTV Opportunity: CTV is the fastest-growing digital medium, and an increasing amount of CTV viewing is ad-supported. CTV offers advertisers the premium environment of television and the enhanced marketing capabilities of digital media. As with all digital media, CTV advertising is poised to be almost entirely programmatically transacted in the near future. Driven by Telaria’s leading market position and technology expertise, the combination of the two companies will provide additional engineering and sales resources, a broader geographic footprint and deeper financial assets to seize the CTV opportunity — to the benefit of our customers and in support of a thriving open internet.
An Essential Omnichannel Partner for Buyers: The combination of Rubicon Project and Telaria will create an essential omnichannel partner for buyers to reach their target audiences, across all formats and devices, anywhere in the world. The result will be an optimised supply path across CTV, desktop display, video, audio, and mobile, committed to exceptional client service, industry-leading transparency, robust support for identity solutions and brand-safe, fraud-free premium inventory.
Uniquely Positioned to Serve Global Publishers: Rubicon Project and Telaria have complementary domestic and international footprints with strengths across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. In North America, the combined company will have strong technology and operations based in Los Angeles, New York and Silicon Valley. Together, the global company will have offices in 11 countries with trusted relationships with the world’s leading buyers and sellers.
Combining Similar Cultures: Combined, Rubicon Project and Telaria will have more than 600 employees and contractors in 19 cities. Both companies are proud of their strong, employee-centric, client-focused corporate cultures. Rubicon Project and Telaria each recognise its employees are the most significant contributors to its success, and will work to preserve and enhance that commitment as a combined entity.
Stronger Combined Financial Profile: The combined company will have diversified revenue streams, substantial Adjusted EBITDA and a strong balance sheet with approximately $150 million in cash and no debt based on September 30, 2019 balances. The merger creates both revenue and cost synergies, with expected annual run rate cost synergies of approximately $15-20 million. Lastly, we expect that the combined company will have substantial operating leverage resulting in attractive Adjusted EBITDA margins.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, each share of Telaria common stock issued and outstanding as of the effective time of the Merger will be converted into the right to receive 1.082 shares of Rubicon Project common stock (and, if applicable, cash in lieu of fractional shares) less any applicable withholding taxes.
Upon closing, Telaria stockholders are expected to own approximately 47.1% and Rubicon Project stockholders are expected to own approximately 52.9% of the fully diluted shares of the combined company.
Governance and Leadership
Upon closing, Michael Barrett will be named Chief Executive Officer of the combined company, Mark Zagorski will be named President & Chief Operating Officer and David Day will be the Chief Financial Officer. Telaria board member Paul Caine will be Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the combined company. The full board will consist of nine members; four existing directors from each company and Michael Barrett, CEO.
Timing and Approvals
The transaction, which is expected to close in the first half of 2020, is subject to the receipt of required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and the approval of stockholders of both companies.
LUMA Partners LLC and Needham & Company, LLC are serving as financial advisors to Rubicon Project, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is serving as its legal advisor. RBC Capital Markets, LLC is serving as financial advisor to Telaria, and Cooley LLP is serving as its legal advisor.