Nikita Mishra
Jul 3, 2023

MediaMath files for bankruptcy, acquisition talks goes awry

The future of Joe Zawadzki's cutting-edge ad-tech platform is uncertain; most of its 300-odd employees have been made redundant.

MediaMath's founder Joe Zawadzki. Photo: MediaMath
MediaMath's founder Joe Zawadzki. Photo: MediaMath

Demand-side platform (DSP) MediaMath has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings as its acquisition talks with potential buyers Viant and MGI-owned Verve Group failed. Chapter 11 of bankruptcy proceedings allows for a reorganisation by which a debtor can still operate its business.

Campaign has learnt that the company’s staff was informed via emails on Friday about the plans to shut down operations in the coming months.

As of June 30, the company has announced that access to its platform will no longer be available. Reportedly most of its 300-member staff is already redundant, though a small number have stayed on board to take care of operations during the bankruptcy proceedings.

One of the original DSP providers—technology that lets advertisers and their agencies buy online ads using automated systems—and a data-management platform, that lets advertisers store and analyse data, MediaMath was launched in 2007 with a US$ 600 million funding. In 2018 after raising US$225 million from investment firm Searchlight Capital Partners, its peak evaluation stood at more than US$1 billion.

However, they were struggling with financial issues in recent years after the 15-year-old ad-tech company missed its acquisition window and failed to file for public listing.

To address these challenges and drive a winning commercial and product/technology agenda, MediaMath’s founder Joe Zawadzki got Neil Nguyen, a former Sizmek and DG executive on board as CEO in 2022. Nguyen’s role at MediaMath was to guide the company through strategic and technological transformations and explore potential strategic transactions.

Despite this, financial issues continued to plague the firm. Private equity group Searchlight Capital Partners provided a $150 million recapitalisation last year but it came at the cost of agreeing to sell the controlling stake in the business for fresh capital and debt refinancing. However, it appears that Searchlight has decided to halt any further financing due to its insolvency.

As a result of the Searchlight deal, MediaMath’s shareholders, early investors and co-founders, including Zawadzki, lost all of their equity in the company, as reported earlier by Insider.

The bankruptcy motion is the second such high-profile move in adtech this year following Big Village and EMX Digital’s Chapter 11 filing in February. 

Campaign Asia

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