Expansion of the programmatic digital marketing business: Ligatus acquires LiquidM

With the acquisition of the demand-side-platform (DSP), Ligatus expands its leading position in the growing field of programmatic native advertising and – above all – takes pole position in the strategically important mobile segment.

Hamburg/Cologne, September 1st 2016 – Ligatus, Europe’s leading native and performance network and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gruner + Jahr, is acquiring 100% of the international technology company LiquidM. LiquidM is backed by the investors Earlybird, Asset Management Ventures and Maximilian Thyssen. By acquiring LiquidM, Gruner + Jahr’s digital unit further expands the strategic growth business of digital marketing and consolidates Ligatus’ market leadership in Europe. The takeover of LiquidM will make Ligatus the leading programmatic native provider in Europe.

LiquidM is a DSP that allows advertisers and agencies to buy and handle digital advertising placements programmatically – i.e. in an auction-based, automated way. The bidding process occurs in real-time within milliseconds, for billions of ad impressions a month. LiquidM technology focuses on the purchase of advertising campaigns which are served to mobile devices in different formats (native, video, rich media and display formats). LiquidM will continue to operate its core business as a mobile DSP under its own brand as a separate company, but being part of the Europe-wide Ligatus group will enable it to accelerate its international growth. At the same time, the LiquidM DSP becomes an integral part of Ligatus’ new programmatic full-stack platform which allows the company to offer a one-stop, integrated solution for programmatic native advertising.

Klaus Ludemann, CEO of Ligatus: “The overall online advertising market is seeing strong double-digit revenue growth in the programmatic sector. Experts are predicting growth of 31 percent, nearly eight times faster than the growth in traditionally booked advertising. In addition, mobile ad spend in the European native advertising market – our core market – is expected to grow by 53 percent by 2020. Together, LiquidM as a specialized mobile DSP and Ligatus as a native and performance network with its own programmatic platform have the ideal prerequisites for a sustainable and strategic exploitation of this potential – with corresponding benefits for our advertisers and publishers.”

LiquidM is a leading mobile DSP with an international customer base, and participates in more than 30 billion real-time auctions daily. Its Managing Directors are Philipp Simon, Thomas Hille and André Bräuer, who will in the future, report directly to Klaus Ludemann and develop LiquidM’s core business from Berlin.

LiquidM Managing Directors Philipp Simon, Thomas Hille and André Bräuer: “By focusing on developing a pure self-service mobile DSP, we have been able to strengthen our market position especially in Europe, but also worldwide in recent years. We now look forward to intensifying growth in the programmatic business – LiquidM as a profitable and rapidly growing company working jointly with Ligatus. The association with Ligatus gives us a stronger presence internationally, and our customers will have access to the high-quality premium reach of the Ligatus network in all major European markets for the programmatic playout of their mobile campaigns. As a highly specialized mobile DSP, we can also sustainably contribute to an even better monetization of Ligatus’ steadily growing mobile reach, especially as the versatile tools and targeting functionalities of our intuitive front-end gives advertisers a high degree of transparency in the optimal management of their campaigns.”

Arne Wolter, CDO Gruner + Jahr: “The acquisition of LiquidM underscores a key component in the digital growth strategy of Gruner + Jahr: Mobile is the first priority in the digital domain. This applies both to our products and to marketing, so I am all the more pleased that in LiquidM, we are acquiring a proven mobile marketing specialist that fits ideally with us in terms of product and know-how, as well as culturally.”