Nexage Joins Parade of Boston Mobile-Ad Acquisitions, for $107.5M

[Updated 4pm, see below.] The Boston area has an impressive history of mobile-advertising startups being acquired for large sums (usually $100 million-plus): Third Screen Media, Enpocket, Quattro Wireless, Where, Jumptap.

Now add Nexage to that list. The mobile-ad exchange is being acquired by Millennial Media, the Baltimore-based advertising giant that also bought Jumptap last year. Nexage’s acquisition price is $107.5 million, most of it in stock ($85 million), the rest in cash ($22.5 million). That’s a significant fraction of Millennial’s (NYSE: MM) market cap, which is a little over $200 million.

Nexage didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. But when I talked to the company last fall, it said it had about 70 employees and was doing tens of millions of dollars in revenue. What’s more, it claimed to be the last independent ad-exchange standing, at least in the U.S.

[Added paragraph with new comments] Reaching out by e-mail and phone, Nexage’s chief marketing officer, Victor Milligan, said the firm has about 85 people in Boston, New York, San Francisco, and London, and that the combined companies are complementary to one another. “The strategic intent of the deal is centered on revenues,” Milligan said. “The combined company will be the largest independent, scaled mobile-ad marketplace to compete with Google, Twitter, and Facebook.” By “independent,” he meant that the other players have a stake in publishing content, but Nexage doesn’t.

With deals like Twitter buying MoPub and Google being the perennial giant in digital advertising, the race has been on to connect advertisers with mobile Web publishers and app developers. (I won’t get into the details of ad exchanges, but the well-named Ad Exchanger has more context around mobile ad-tech.)

Nexage had raised about $24 million from investors including GrandBanks Capital, Relay Ventures, Hearst Ventures, and SingTel’s venture group. The company is led by CEO Ernie Cormier and chairman Mike Baker, who’s also chief executive of Boston-based DataXu.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and Editor of Xconomy Boston. E-mail him at gthuang [at] xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • Aaron Mahl

    Millennial Media should save their money and invest some of their energy into innovating again, like they used to before the IPO. Now, MM can’t hold a candle to the stuff we’re seeing from everyone from Opera to Airpush. MM is out of touch with mobile advertising’s ongoing evolution and soon they will be out of time unless they get back to the creative formula that made them one of the giants in the first place.