Undertone Acquires Paris-Based World Web Network

A Deal to Help US Publishers Sell Foreign Audiences to Advertisers

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- While the internet has, in many ways, flattened the globe, audience -- and advertising -- is still largely local. (Just ask Groupon.) That's why so many web publishers lament that while a significant fraction of their audience comes from overseas, there is no profitable way to deliver ads to that readership.

Attempting to better sell these foreign eyeballs, online ad network Undertone has acquired Paris-based digital ad rep firm World Web Network (WWN) for an undisclosed sum. Separately, Undertone acquired video syndication and ad platform Jambo Media just last month.

What is a relatively untapped business in the U.S. is more of a mainstay abroad, especially in Europe and Asia where cross-cultural travel and consumption is more common. As an ad rep firm, WWN brokers buys between foreign advertisers, or their agencies and local websites. As an example, the company has placed advertising from Air France on Corriere della Sera, one of the largest Italian daily newspapers. Some other WWN clients include Wall Street Journal of Japan, technology consulting firm Cap Gemini, and Google.

"With this acquisition, we become a significant partner to publishers," CEO Michael Cassidy said. "We'll now be able to offer global publishers solutions to help them as their primary channel." Mr. Cassidy said one of the advantages to targeting such a group of readers is that they are more likely more affluent and are travelers, both key online advertising segments.

"We are excited to see WWN join with Undertone and believe it will make our current partnership more meaningful," said Arnaud Faure, Director of Digital, Havas Media International.

WWN's relatively small staff of 19 will remain in place, and Undertone's overall employee headcount will grow to over 150, according to the company. The company has also brought on Steve Goldberg, one of the founders of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, as senior vice president of its international department.

Undertone has thus far raised $40 million in an initial round of funding.

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