Advertisers Increasingly Turning To Mobile & Digital Advertising As Smartphone Usage Rises News Commentary –  The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, which triggered a paradigm shift in the way individuals use different apps, has positively impacted market growth in the digital media and digital marketing markets. As such, app developers have been particularly reviewing their advertising set-ups and improving their capabilities to push for more accountability and transparency with partners in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn. For instance, in September 2020, HubSpot, Inc. of the U.S. announced the introduction of new updates and features to its platforms for helping businesses in meeting the challenges posed by the outbreak of the pandemic. The additional features include enterprise sales CRM, an expanded personalization functionality, and scalable contacts pricing models.  A report from Grand View Research projected that the global digital marketing software market size was valued at USD 56.52 billion in 2021 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.1% from 2022 to 2030.   Active companies in the market this week include Troika Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRKA), QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), Advantage Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: ADV), The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE:IPG), AdTheorent Holding Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTH).

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The Grand View Research report said: “The growth of the market can be attributed to the growing preference among individuals for mobile devices to obtain information on the go and subsequently the continued transition from desktop PCs to smartphones. The growth can also be attributed to the proliferation of smartphones, which has triggered the consumption of digital media and is prompting marketers to push more online ads on social media and other digital platforms for a larger exposure and more visibility. The continued shift from wired communication to wireless communication and subsequently the growing adoption of wireless communication devices, which is expected to trigger the consumption of digital media, also bodes well for the growth of the market over the forecast period. Advertising companies are increasingly following digital marketing channels and providing publishers with advanced advertising capabilities.”

Troika Media Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TRKA) BREAKING NEWS:  Troika Media Group to Acquire Converge Direct LLC, a Leading Digital and Offline Performance Media and Marketing Company, for $125 Million – Troika Media Group, Inc. (“TMG” or “Company”), a brand consultancy and marketing innovations company that provides integrated branding and marketing solutions for global brands today announced that it has signed a definitive purchase agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) to acquire Converge Direct LLC and its affiliates (collectively, “Converge”), a leading independent marketing and customer acquisition business for $125 million (collectively, the “Acquisition”). The Acquisition has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors and the majority of shareholders of both Troika and Converge. The transaction is expected to close on or before March 15th, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Since its formation in 2006, Converge and its affiliates have grown to approximately $300 million in annualized revenue and $23 million in adjusted EBITDA for the year ending December 31, 2021. Converge is a leading independent performance marketing and managed services business.  Converge provides to customer acquisition services utilizing a broad range of engagement channels in the digital, offline and emerging media sectors. Converge utilizes a business intelligence centric approach to its media strategy, planning and buying to deliver its client’s customer acquisition targets and KPIs to achieve scale, efficiency and/or on time lead fulfilment.  Converge’s proprietary solutions and HELIX’s business intelligent software offers clients best-in-class customer acquisition metrics. Converge’s 85 full time employees are expected to join Troika upon the closing of the acquisition and the combined company will have approximately 200 full time employees.

Transaction Details – Troika has signed a binding purchase agreement to acquire Converge for total consideration of $125 million. Troika will fund the transaction with a combination of new debt financing, a restricted stock grant and cash on hand at closing. Troika has a commitment with respect to the majority of the purchase price in the form a senior secured credit facility.

Upon closing, the senior management team of Converge will enter into long-term Employment Agreements and take an active leadership role in the combined business. Sid Toama, formerly Chief Operating Officer of Converge, will join Troika’s Board of Directors, and serve as President of Troika. Tom Marianacci, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Converge will remain CEO of the Converge entities and be a board advisor to Troika. Other members of Converge’s Executive Leadership Team have agreed to join Troika to provide continuity to Troika’s strategy, growth and leadership.

“We are very pleased and excited for the opportunity to combine our two great businesses and leverage our collective resources and expertise to accelerate profitable growth,” said Robert Machinist, Troika’s Chairman and CEO. “Troika has a deep and long history with major global brands that rely on us to build trust and drive customer and fan engagements. The acquisition of Converge will place us in the growth sweet spot of digital content, data and digital media which is moving from brand awareness and trial to conversion at significant scale. With strong top-line growth, solid margins, and a significant shareowner interest in the combined entities, we believe this transaction deepens and broadens our digital client offerings.  Accordingly, we expect it that it will substantially enhance shareholder value.”

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Other recent developments in the markets include:

QuinStreet, Inc. (NASDAQ: QNST), a leader in performance marketplaces and technologies for the financial services and home services industries, recently announced financial results for the fiscal second quarter ended December 31, 2021.  For the fiscal second quarter, the Company reported revenue of $125.3 million. Revenue declined 7% year-over-year.  GAAP net loss for the fiscal second quarter was $5.6 million, or ($0.10) per diluted share. Adjusted net income was $3.2 million, or $0.06 per diluted share.  Adjusted EBITDA for the fiscal second quarter was $5.6 million.  The Company generated $13.9 million in operating cash flow in the fiscal second quarter and closed the quarter with $115.0 million in cash and equivalents.

“Insurance client spending was further impacted in the December quarter by the widely reported effects of increased claim costs,” commented Doug Valenti, QuinStreet CEO. “Insurance spending bounced back strongly in January, but has been more volatile than projected as carriers adapt to a rapidly changing environment for claims and costs. We expect current insurance market volatility to last for approximately three to six more months, and then return to more normal market conditions and increased momentum thereafter. Momentum in non-insurance verticals continues to be strong. We are also seeing good progress with growth initiatives, including QRP. QRP revenue is now expected to exceed $1 million per month by June.”

The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE:IPG) Philippe Krakowsky, CEO of IPG recently said:  “As is evident in our results, the combination of strategy, talent and culture we have built at IPG continues to drive a high level of innovation, collaboration and creativity. Our strong performance reflects more than the cyclical economic recovery, it further validates the growing role we are playing with marketers as they adapt and enhance their businesses to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy.

“Clients are increasingly looking for partners with expertise in first-party data management, performance media, creative ad tech and direct-to-consumer commerce, areas in which we remain very well-positioned. During the quarter and throughout the year, our best-in-class agency brands increasingly tapped into IPG’s foundational technology and data layer. Across marketing disciplines, channels and use cases, our combination of data, technology and creativity is resulting in a growing range of effective marketing and media solutions that help our clients to grow their brands and build their businesses.

AdTheorent Holding Company, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTH), a leading programmatic digital advertising company using advanced machine learning technology and privacy-forward solutions to deliver measurable value for advertisers and marketers, recently announced that it will report financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 on Thursday, March 3, 2022 after market close. AdTheorent will host a conference call and webcast at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time on the same day to discuss its financial results.

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