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RTL Group to Take Majority Stake in SpotXchange

Europe’s RTL Group has entered into a binding agreement to make an initial investment of $144 million, a 65% stake in the Denver-based SpotXchange, which is one of the largest global marketplaces for digital video advertising.

The investment is part of a strategy by the RTL Group to become a leading player in online video and online video advertising and would provide Europe’s largest broadcaster with key technologies and offerings in the programmatic advertising business.

Over one billion auctions for video advertising impressions are transacted through the SpotXchange platform each day. It delivers ads to 335 million people in over 100 countries per month.

If approved by U.S. regulators, the companies hope to close the transaction by the end of August.

In announcing the deal, the companies noted that online video advertising is currently the fastest growing digital advertising segment, expected to grow globally at 24% a year between 2014 and 2018.

Programmatic video advertising is a particularly important part of that growth, which is estimated to increase from $2.7 billion in 2013 to $15.4 billion in 2018 worldwide.

In a joint statement, RTL Group coCEOs Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch said that: “Following our investments in non-linear TV services and in multi-channel networks on Youtube, RTL Group has already become the leading European media company in terms of online video views. The logical next step in our strategy is a structural move into the area of digital monetisation – improving our skills by adding innovative data- and technology-based competencies. SpotXchange is the perfect fit for RTL Group for such a move: it has a first-class management team that has built a leading, state-of-the-art platform for programmatic selling of online video advertising. With its impressive growth story and strong positioning in the United States, SpotXchange also represents a unique opportunity to enhance RTL Group’s presence in the world’s biggest and most advanced media market.”

RTL Group will appoint three of the five members of the board of SpotXchange.

SpotXchange CEO Michael Shehan and COO/CFO Steve Swoboda will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of the company.