There are times when mergers I hear about just send me into cross-eyed head-scratching mode, and others when my immediate reaction is: “Ok, that makes sense.”
Broadsign acquiring Ayuda makes sense.
Both companies are well established and much respected in the digital OOH sector. They serve the same kinds of clients but in different ways – Ayuda is much more back-office and works well for OOH companies that have static and digital inventory. And the two companies are maybe a 10-minute walk from each other in downtown Montreal. Ayuda is right down by the river in the old part of the city.
I’d heard Ayuda was being shopped for a while now, and Broadsign seemed like a very logical suitor. That was made official this morning.
Says the press release:
Broadsign International Inc., the leading digital out-of-home marketing platform, today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire the industry’s premier out-of-home enterprise business solution, Ayuda Media Systems. Both companies are headquartered in Montreal. For out-of-home (OOH) media owners who have an increasingly complex mix of digital and classic inventory/locations, the combined power of Broadsign and Ayuda will enable them to streamline business operations across all of their inventory, digital and classic. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.
The OOH industry delivered US $38.6 billion of advertising in 2018, and for the first time 50% of revenue came from digital signage locations. As OOH media owners continue to drive forward, each needs a more unified solution for managing, selling and delivering all of their OOH advertising, regardless of format type.
The slightly odd signing/toasting pic (above) is Andreas Soupliotis, Ayuda’s founder and Broadsign CEO Burr Smith, left and right on the swings, and Francois de Gaspé Beaubien, Ayuda’s chairman, in the middle.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to bring together two market leaders in OOH software. Together we can help media owners drive greater efficiency in their business while at the same time realize the full potential of the industry as it becomes increasingly digital,” said Burr Smith, President and CEO of Broadsign. “The OOH industry has never been in a better place. However, to accelerate growth even more, media owners and their advertisers need access to the most innovative capabilities available, such as tools for revenue optimization and the ability to sell via programmatic buying channels — both of which we can help them access.”
Ayuda was recently recognized by Deloitte Canada as one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Canada, with 647% revenue growth since 2014. Their impressive client roster includes AdShel (Australia), Astral (Canada), OUTFRONT Media (Canada), Rouge Media (Canada), Ströer (Germany), VGI Global Media (Thailand), VMO (Australia), and Vyoma (India). We are delighted that Ayuda’s present CEO, Luc Filiatreault, and all of the talented members of the development, operations, sales and services leadership team members of Ayuda have agreed to join Broadsign.
“The historical coming together of Broadsign and Ayuda makes so much sense,” said Andreas Soupliotis, Founder of Ayuda Media Systems. “The combined offering of both companies creates an unprecedented best-ever offering for out-of-home media owners. I am thrilled to see these two powerhouse teams unite. The future of our industry is brighter than ever.”
“Ayuda’s robust business operations, financing, and ad delivery management system is a terrific fit with Broadsign’s market leading digital out-of-home marketing platform,” said Mark Boidman, Managing Director at PJ Solomon, which acted as Broadsign’s financial advisor on this transaction. “We are tremendously excited by the opportunity for the industry to take advantage of the combined strength of these two companies.”
This news comes after a record year for Broadsign. In 2018, the company evolved from a content management system to a DOOH marketing platform and launched three new products, including its market leading programmatic DOOH solution, Broadsign Reach. Seven months after its launch, Broadsign Reach has integrated with 17 DSP partners and has delivered campaigns in nine countries, for brands such as: foodora, John Lewis, Pepsi, Peugeot, SEAT, UFC, XITE Networks, and many more.
With the acquisition of Ayuda Media Systems, the company will employ 230 people globally, and power over 425,000 signs around the world, including more than 180,000 digital signs. This transaction represents the first acquisition in Broadsign’s 15 year history. Future acquisitions will play an important role in Broadsign’s strategic plans, complementing organic growth and further enhancing its position as the market leader in OOH/digital signage software.
It is worth reminding people that Broadsign almost cratered in the wake of the 2008-9 recession, and filed for Chapter 11 protection in March 2012. It was down to skeleton staff and fighting to maintain the confidence of existing and prospective clients.
Smith, also the majority owner, has brought the company a long way back. Much respect for that. It was between Broadsign and BrightSign for my take on the busiest booth at DSE.
The roughly 100 members of the Ayuda team have been offered positions at Broadsign. Luc Fileatreault, the current Ayuda CEO, will be president of Broadsign’s Ayuda division.
Longtime Ayuda CEO Soupliotis is not joining Broadsign, and will continue to run Hivestack, the programmatic ads platforms that was spun off from Ayuda in Sept. 2017.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.