LIN Media buys Federated Media Publishing


LIN MediaFederated Media Publishing, a content marketer for the social web, has sold its business to LIN Digital Media, a subsidiary of LIN Media. Federated Media’s programmatic media and publisher platform business, originally built through the acquisition of Lijit Networks in 2011, will stay as an independent entity with the name sovrn Holdings, Inc.

The deal allows LIN Digital Media to expand its portfolio while enabling sovrn to invest in its programmatic media and platform business. Federated Media will become a portfolio company of LIN Digital Media.

sovrn will be headquartered in Boulder, CO, with additional offices in San Francisco and New York. The added investment from the sale of Federated Media will help fuel the company’s growth – which saw a 93% revenue growth from 2012 to 2013 – as well as bring to market new platform-based tools and services. With almost 20,000 publishers in the network, representing over 2 million websites, sovrn currently pays publishers across the independent web approximately $2 million/week.

Walter Knapp, former COO of Federated Media and Lijit, has been appointed as the new CEO of sovrn. John Battelle, Founder, Executive Chairman, and CEO of Federated Media, will remain with sovrn as its Executive Chairman.

Upon closing of the acquisition, sovrn will own and operate one of the largest and most diverse programmatic supply-side platforms in the world, with almost 3 billion ad requests/day and 180 million U.S. monthly uniques. The company’s real-time bidding infrastructure powers one of the largest global ad exchanges in the industry and offers publishers a complete range of programmatic monetization solutions including display, video, mobile and international as well as private marketplaces and data-driven yield optimization. In 2014, sovrn will bring to market new data- and platform-based tools and services for independent publishers.

“As the new CEO of sovrn, it’s my mission to make sure that we are insanely focused on providing the tools, resources and services that enable independent and influential publishers to succeed,” said Walter Knapp, CEO of sovrn and former COO of Federated Media. “The proceeds from this sale will allow us to lean heavily into our platform-based programmatic ad services and to roll-out an expanded set of offerings to engage audiences and drive monetization.”

“The transaction with LIN Media will allow Federated Media’s content marketing business not only to thrive, but grow faster – and that means more revenue and opportunities for the partners who have made Federated Media what it is,” said John Battelle, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Federated Media. “At the same time, our programmatic business has been growing so fast that it demands more focused attention as well as more investment. As an independent entity, sovrn can now fully pursue the dream of building a publisher-facing programmatic platform that leverages all the data and insights we’ve gained over the past few years.”

RBR-TVBR observation: So, LIN Digital Media adds another digital asset to its portfolio. As Wells Fargo Securities Senior Analyst Marci Ryvicker notes, the deal is expected to add another layer to LIN’s expanding digital platform, which also includes HYFYN and Dedicated Media (both acquired in April). Federated is expected to provide LIN Media clients with deeper engagement, more ad solutions, and significantly extend its video and social platform offerings.