Donovan Data Systems (DDS) and MediaBank will merge to form MediaOcean, a provider of creative workflow and campaign management tools for agencies.
The deal, which reportedly values the combined company at $1.5 billion, aims to establish a unified software suite that can support agencies' ever more integrated digital and traditional buying activities while also serving increasingly fragmented media plans and convoluted reporting requirements.
The companies have 800 employees, which will be merged into single offices in markets where they currently overlap. Together they process more than $100 billion in annual ad spend, according to a spokesperson.
MediaOcean also hopes to challenge the rising influence of Google's ad management dashboard - with products like DoubleClick for Advertisers, Google Ad Exchange, Invite Media, Teracent, and AdWords.
New York-based DDS is by far the older of the two companies, having been founded in 1967. Its tools encompass print and broadcast media buying, timesheet tracking, invoicing, creative workflow management, and some interactive capabilities. Its digital campaign system was integrated with DoubleClick several years ago.
Meanwhile MediaBank, headquartered in Chicago, offers cross-media order management, tracking and reporting, and interactive campaign tools, among other products. Earlier this year, it bought online search and display ad platform AdBuyer for an undisclosed sum.
MediaBank CEO Bill Wise will be chief executive of MediaOcean. Wise is a digital ad veteran who was previously president of media at Yahoo's Right Exchange and CEO of search-centric agency Did-it. DDS founder Michael Donovan will serve as executive chairman of MediaOcean.
In a statement, the companies said they are working on an open source "MediaOcean OS Project" that will let agencies, media sellers, and others integrate with each other and with MediaOcean, using APIs and open source software. They also noted repeatedly that the company will be "independent" and "neutral," a not-too-subtle jab at Google and others that have attempted to offer both the systems for selling media and the media itself.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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