Inside Refinery29's $133 million rise and sell to Vice Media, FCB cuts ties with industry group over Ted Royer controversy, and Taboola and Outbrain finally merge
Welcome to the Advertising and Media Insider newsletter. I'm Lauren Johnson, a senior advertising reporter filling in for Lucia this week. If you got this email forwarded, sign up for your own here. Send tips or feedback to me at LJohnson@businessinsider.com.
After a year of nearly constant rumors about digital media mergers, the past few weeks have proved that the consolidation trend is real.
In the past couple of weeks, Vox Media acquired New York Media, Vice Media bought Refinery29, and Group Nine Media bought Popsugar. All three deals were all or mostly stock deals.
Lucia dug into the story behind Refinery29 and how it raised $133 million after starting in 2005 as a site to highlight up-and-coming designers and creative types. Lucia's reporting is packed with juicy details, including a meeting where a spaceship was used to symbolize the company's growth, its move into hard news and a distribution strategy heavily reliant on social platforms.
How Refinery29 bootstrapped for 8 years, caught fire, and raised $133 million — only to end up selling to another struggling startup, Vice Media, for mostly stock
Lucia also looked into eBay's ambitions to grow advertising to a $1 billion business by pitching it as an alternative to Amazon. The company has reworked its teams and hired Scott Kelliher, a veteran of publishers like Time and Yahoo, as its first head of brand advertising and partnerships.
eBay is ramping up its sales efforts to take aim at Amazon's giant advertising business
My colleague Tanya Dua reported on content-recommendation company Taboola's merger with longtime rival Outbrain. The companies have paid publishers for years in exchange for sending traffic to sites through sponsored posts that appear at the bottom of article pages. Taboola founder and CEO Adam Singolda said Outbrain shareholders would receive shares representing 30% of the combined company and $250 million in cash under the combined company.
Taboola and Outbrain, 2 of the biggest content-recommendation companies, are combining to take on Google and Facebook in advertising
Tanya also spoke with Dell CMO Allison Dew about the computer giant's focus on first-party data amid upcoming privacy laws like the California Consumer Privacy Act and its experimentation with an in-house agency.
Dell's CMO Allison Dew talks about how the company was ahead on the direct-to-consumer trend, why dedicated agency units fail, and why advertising may enter 'Mad Men Era 2.0'
I covered ad-tech company Samba TV's newest acquisition: A first-party data firm called Wove. As more ad-tech companies prepare for privacy laws in the US, Samba TV CEO and co-founder, Ashwin Navin, said that the acquisition will let advertisers use first-party data like web visits to target TV ads.
Samba TV is acquiring a startup that helps direct-to-consumer brands like Parachute and Plated swap data to improve TV ad targeting
Meanwhile, agency correspondent Patrick Coffee reported that ad agency FCB ended its partnership with the London International Awards after ousted Droga5 exec Ted Royer gave a surprise talk at a Las Vegas event this week. Attendees at the event said that they felt like they would be penalized and not reimbursed if they chose to not attend Royer's talk.
Ad agency FCB ends partnership with London International Awards after controversy over surprise appearance by fired Droga5 executive
Patrick also got his hands on holding company IPG's internal memo announcing a new mar-tech group called Kinesso. IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth said it would build on the holding company's $2.3 billion acquisition of Acxiom last year.
Internal memo explains why ad holding company IPG launched app-focused martech business Kinesso
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