Kara Swisher

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Federated Media Buys Lijit Networks

San Francisco-based Federated Media Publishing said it has bought Lijit Networks, a smaller online advertising analytics and tools firm.

The price for the Boulder, Colo., start-up — which was founded in 2006 — was undisclosed, but it has received just under $29 million in venture funding from firms such as Foundry Group. Federated said Lijit would continue to operate independently, “but in conjunction.”

In an interview yesterday, Federated CEO Deanna Brown said the buy was to round out offerings for its clients and to better compete in a world where most of the online ads go to the top five players.

“I am excited we can give both publishers and advertisers more tools for engagement and monetization,” she said.

Federated, which lost big social-media news site Mashable earlier this year, also benefits from increased scale and inventory of sites.

Lijit CEO Todd Vernon, who will become EVP of technology at Federated, said that it was ever more important for ad-focused firms on the Web to “deliver the entire stack.”

“Lijit has a core competency in the media business, and combined with FM’s best-in-class sales force, we can offer everything needed to do effective online campaigns,” he said.

Here’s the official press release:

Federated Media Publishing To Acquire Lijit Networks

Combined Entity Will Power More than 77,000 Independent Publishers Across the Web Via Comprehensive Advertising, Analytics and Reader Engagement Tools

SAN FRANCISCO, October 4, 2011 – Federated Media Publishing, which powers the best of the Independent Web, today announced the acquisition of Lijit Networks, Inc. Lijit is a leading provider of advertising services, audience analytics and reader engagement tools for online publishers of all sizes. The combined entity will reach nearly 300 million global unique visitors according to Quantcast.

Lijit, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, will continue to operate independently but in conjunction with the rest of Federated Media Publishing. Lijit CEO Todd Vernon and COO Walter Knapp will take on corresponding EVP of Technology and SVP of Platform Revenue responsibilities at Federated Media Publishing and will report directly to Federated Media Publishing’s CEO, Deanna Brown. Additionally, Lijit board member Seth Levine from Foundry Group will join the Federated Media Publishing board of directors, effective immediately.

With the addition of Lijit Networks’ existing publisher relationships, Federated Media Publishing will now reach more than 77,000 online publishers and nearly 15,000 expert communities, making it one of the largest companies to power publishing on the Independent Web. The acquisition vastly expands the combined company’s inventory of sites, offering premium advertisers improved scale and reach.

Publishers Will Profit and Flourish

Lijit helps publishers more thoughtfully interact with and better understand their audience by providing analytics and engagement tools that build deeper relationships, lengthen time on site and increase page views. These robust and actionable audience analytics and reader engagement tools leverage intent, behavior and demographics to help publishers of all sizes increase revenue and better engage their readers.

Additionally, the combined advertising services provided by FM and Lijit will give publishers of all sizes a revenue stream that complements existing sales efforts and helps grow and monetize their website businesses, no matter what the size.

Advertisers Can More Easily Analyze and Engage

The combination of Federated Media Publishing’s premium online advertising and conversational marketing programs and Lijit’s proprietary data collection tools will empower advertisers to better understand user intent, contextual relevance and demographic information. And by leveraging the combined entity’s extensive publisher relationships, advertisers will have unprecedented scale on the Independent Web.

Introducing Programmatic Buying to the Independent Web

Programmatic buying is one of the fastest growing trends in digital media and the introduction of Lijit’s robust RTB exchange will equip media buyers with one of the largest platforms available. Over the next few months, Federated Media Publishing and Lijit will develop a series of private exchanges that will highlight leading independent publishers. These exchanges will allow brands to engage active, passionate consumers found in highly conversational online communities and publications, while delivering premium CPM rates via FM’s conversational marketing programs.

Quote

“The Lijit Networks team is just as passionate and committed to powering publishers as we are at Federated Media Publishing and that was a crucial element to this decision,” said Deanna Brown, chief executive officer, Federated Media Publishing. “Our combined relationships, proprietary tools and conversational marketing services will be invaluable to publishers and advertisers alike.”

“Federated Media invented how to leverage authentic voices and engaged conversations that exist in the Independent Web,” said Todd Vernon, founder and CEO of Lijit Networks. “The combination of the two companies is a game changer in the industry that unlocks new opportunities for both companies and our combined publisher network.”


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