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Nielsen buys Israeli big data co eXelate for $200m

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Monday, March 9th, 2015

As reported in Globes: eXelate has developed a platform that allows data search and analysis for digital ad companies.

Nielsen Holdings N.V.  has acquired Israeli data management company eXelate. The company has developed a platform that allows data search and analysis for digital ad companies. Financial details about the acquisition were not disclosed but estimates are that Nielsen will pay $200 million cash.Nielsen global president Steve Hasker said, “This acquisition creates a tremendous opportunity for Nielsen in the programmatic media ecosystem. Adding eXelate’s solutions to the Nielsen family furthers our ability to help marketers improve the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns and to help media companies better sell their content.”

eXelate CEO Mark Zagorski said, “eXelate’s mission is to power the digital marketing ecosystem with data and insights to better inform the buying and selling of advertising. We are excited for the opportunity to accelerate our business by taking this next step with our longtime collaborator Nielsen.”

Nielsen COO Brian West said, “eXelate’s advanced data solutions, innovative technology platform, and talented team of technologists will be a strong addition to the Nielsen family. Privacy is a priority for both Nielsen and eXelate. We will work closely with the eXelate team and continue to build privacy protections into all Nielsen products and solutions.”

eXelate was founded in 2007 by former CEO Meir Zohar who still sits on the board and serves as a consultant, and CTO Elad Efraim. Zohar left the company in December 2010 because he was reluctant to live in New York where the headquarters had been moved and preferred to return to Israel to set up new start-ups. Zohar had previously founded Oridian Online Media Solutions, which was acquired by Ybrant. The founders are expected to earn $50 million from the sale.

eXelate’s development center remains in Israel. The company has raised $32 million to date and employs 100 people in the US, Israel and at its London and Paris offices.

eXelate’s biggest shareholder is Carmel Ventures, which has an estimated 25% stake and will triple its investment.

Carmel Ventures co-founder and general partner Shlomo Dovrat told “Globes,” “A classic big data company has been built here, an advertising exchange that works with lots of pieces of information and operates in cooperation with companies like google, Yahoo and others.”

Dovrat added that Oracle’s acquisition a year ago of eXelate’s rival BluKai for $350-400 million paved the way for today’s deal. He said, “It was clear that after Oracle’s deal then parties would be interested in eXelate, which remained the only privately-owned company in the field.”

Regarding the acquisition, he said, “There was a competitive process between a number of potential buyers with the price offered naturally being one of the important considerations but not the only one. The fact that there was already good relations between eXelate and Nielsen, and a deep acquaintance between the parties, helped close the deal. From an economic point of view, Nielsen was more aggressive.”

other investors inlcude Menlo Ventures, NewSpring Capital, and Trident Capital.

This is Nielsen’s second acquisition in Israel after it acquired BuzzMetrics for $100 million.