Ad data collector BlueKai has sold $6.7 million worth of stock, according to a fairly enigmatic SEC filing. The filing lists several BlueKai execs as well as principals at its investors/board members from Redpoint Ventures and Battery Ventures (but did not include executives’ personal stock). The stock sale appears to be connected to a merger, but BlueKai did not return messages seeking comment about what it acquired.
On the filing, in answer to the question, “Is this offering being made in connection with a business combination transaction, such as a merger, acquisition or exchange offer?” BlueKai has checked the “yes” box.
The Bellevue, Washington-based company did tell Techflash’s John Cook that it was in connection to an acquisition that was made with BlueKai stock, but that details would be revealed in the coming weeks.
Almost a year ago, BlueKai raised a $21 million third round funding led by GGV Capital along with Redpoint and Battery.
The purchase comes as both regulatory scrutiny and deal activity in the ad targeting space heat up. Congress is expected to hold hearings next month to discuss the FTC’s new proposals, which include requiring browsers to contain a “Do Not Track” button (both Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s IE are inserting such a tool on their own). In the past few weeks, ad tech companies such as Turn, which raised a $20 million fourth round.
Before that, [x+1] said it raised a $10 million second round. Late last month, BlueKai direct competitor eXelate, which operates an open marketplace for audience targeting data, completed a $16 million second round it started in August. And in November, European ad re-targeter MyThings was able to secure $6 million in a third round of funding round.
BlueKai has only been around for about three years, but it has been able to attract a number of major media publishers to its system. That’s striking, since publishers have had an attraction/aversion to ad targeting and to furthering the desire of advertisers to buy “audiences” instead of content brands. But the prices of ad targeting units tend to be higher and most publishers have acknowledged that there’s little that can be done to prevent the current shift to audience buying. By gaining prominent online publishers like NBC (NYSE: GE) and MTV, BlueKai has quickly surpassed many of the companies that started long before it.