Viant has acquired itself from media publishing powerhouse Meredith, the companies said Monday. Brothers Chris and Tim Vanderhook, who started Viant 20 years ago, owned a 40 percent stake; Meredith sold the pair the remaining 60 percent. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Viant was first acquired by Time Inc. in 2016 as part of an overarching strategy to pair premium content with programmatic advertising. That same year, however, Time Inc.’s CEO, Joe Ripp, stepped down and the publication was later sold to Meredith in 2017 for $2.8 billion. Meredith announced it would sell several Time Inc. assets, including Viant, to pay off debt.
The move makes Viant among the few large independent DSPs on the market. About two weeks ago, Roku said it was acquiring Dataxu, also a DSP, for $150 million. Prior to that, AT&T purchased AppNexus for $1.8 billion.
Chris Vanderhook, Viant chief operating officer, declined to specify whether Roku was among Viant’s potential suitors, saying only, “There were a number of interested parties that included both strategic as well as private equity.”
“Our intention is to continue to build an alternative for the buy side,” Chris Vanderhook says. “We want to remain independent and we’re not setting up our business for another media company to acquire it.”
Viant intends to further bolster its offerings into growing channels such as linear and advanced TV and digital audio. The company adds that its identity graph—which marketers use to better target ads—and measurement solutions will make it an attractive option among media agencies.
Though Viant declined to share specifics, the company is “soundly profitable with record revenue that’s up over 50 percent,” says Tim Vanderhook, Viant CEO.
“Our play is to consolidate market spend,” Chris Vanderhook says. “And to do that you must have access to every channel. We’ve extended to all formats and that’s fueling our growth.”