Similar to how 2021 ended, 2022 began with today’s announcement that Media.Monks will merge with 4 Mile Analytics, the latest deal in the current flood of merger and acquisition ads in the digital media landscape.
In a statement, Martin Sorrell, CEO of S ., said:4 Capital notes how the experience of 4 Mile across a number of major internet platforms, notably Google’s analytics service Looker and Google Cloud, will be critical to helping customers improve their digital efficiencies.
Nick Folger, founder and CEO of 4 Mile, who previously served as Looker’s director of engineering, said his group helps clients “make insights actionable.” This is done by helping them access and aggregate first-party data in order to improve media playback, including their marcomms’ operations.
He explained to Digiday how 4 Mile recently helped a Fortune 500 customer retrieve ad placement data across a number of platforms, such as Facebook, to automate campaign execution.
“We built them an app for [assessing] ROI,” Folger added. “It automatically ingests advertising media, and automatically detects what to place and when based on a variety of different data sources.”
Meanwhile, Tyler Beetz, global evp, data, and Media.Monks, explained to Digiday how the 4 Mile integration will enhance his company’s offerings which, nominally, consists of helping marketing teams navigate major platforms such as Amazon, Google, and Salesforce, etc. .
“One of the biggest challenges for customers is that they have insights that are blocked in silos and don’t make their way through the company’s bloodstream,” he said, adding that 4 Mile’s talent pool of 45 data professionals will help mitigate these.
“There just isn’t enough talent that knows how to work within these major infrastructure platforms…work with data, model it and project it in a way that can be acted upon for someone within the company.”
Financial Terms of the Deal – Parent Company of Media.Monks S.4 Capital has done more than 20 such deals since its formation in 2018 – it has not been publicly disclosed. Although 4 Mile, which has close to 50 employees and generated $6.5 million in revenue last year, is set to fall under the Media.Monks banner.
Sorel on the current state of mergers and acquisitions
In their Full Year Market Report 2021, LUMA Partners described 2021 as a “certain year of recovery” for the overall digital marketing sector with deal-making activity increasing by 82% over 2020 – 399 deals totaled.
Additionally, the investment bank predicted “an increase in M&A activity in 2022” as both strategic and financial buyers join the buying frenzy.
Speaking with Digiday, Sorrell, the most popular name in advertising who has helped build WPP into the largest holding group in the business through a series of mergers and acquisitions moves, shared his views on what is driving the market.
Discuss: his views on how major internet platforms are helping drive consolidation, and how his group is looking to disrupt the holding group model and the “insecurity” of entrepreneurs.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length clarity.
Do you think the dearth of developmental talent is the driving force behind the current M&A landscape?
I think it’s not about acquiring talent per se, it’s about acquiring capabilities in which there are great talents. You can’t say that [4 Mile deal] It’s just about acquiring talent… It’s about acquiring or merging with abilities and bringing them all over Looker, Snowflake, and more.
The way we go is by identifying three core practice areas: content which should represent 60% of our business, data analytics and digital media which should now account for about 30% of our business, and then technology services which should be around 10%.
It’s all about the transformation in digital marketing, which is the business we’re in, and 4 Mile just so happens to have the best people to develop capabilities in some of these areas.
To what extent do you see privacy moves by major platform providers driving M&A?
We are very focused on the implications of what Google does with third-party cookies and Apple IDFA decisions. This has prompted customers to mine, standardize first-party data, and use [data] Signals are from platforms, so everything we do in data and analytics revolves around those areas.
To answer your question, if we see other companies in high growth areas — content, data analytics, digital media and tech services — we’ll go for those companies as well.
If you look at everything we’ve done over the past year, and there’s more to come, it’s about identifying those areas of growth, and then getting the best people in those key areas.
Do you see large holding groups, which have been relatively quiet when it comes to mergers and acquisitions since the Covid-19 hit, become more active?
They have the opposite problem to us, they are not in high growth areas, they should focus on high growth areas but they seem reluctant. I mean, they do make moves but they are very small.
Holding companies are made up of analog companies, which I can compare to a “bad bank” in contrast to digital companies which I can compare to a “good bank” and seem unwilling to make large investments.
While they have made significant investments in data assets such as Dentsu with Merkle, IPG with Acxiom, and Publicis with Epsilon, but in my opinion, these look like outdated data assets. They are third party data assets, not first party data assets which I assume you can’t buy by definition because they are customer assets.
But they don’t fit right in with the kind of things Nick and Tyler are focused on, I think [holding groups] They are companies from the twentieth century and we are in the twenty-first century.
Finally, S4 Often ‘merging’ is used instead of ‘acquisition’ of deals. Can you explain this choice of wording?
We do not profit, we are looking for people who want to build their business. The first question in any discussion is, “If you want to sell your business, go ahead and talk to X, Y, and Z.”
If you want to create a new form and disable the old one, we are going to do that. look [for any deal with S4] It was half share and half cash as with any of our transactions.
We believe that it is permissible and respectful for entrepreneurs – who are often fundamentally insecure and often wonder how they became so successful – to make half of the capital … and then to integrate the other half into the company with the goal of building this model. Everyone we hooked up with did that.