Engage to Go Toe-to-Toe with Competitors in Asia

In an all-stock transaction announced Thursday, CMGI ad network, serving and optimization company Engage extended its operations in Asia with the acquisition of onetime regional rival Space Asia Media.

Hong Kong-based Space, one of the region’s leading ad networks with about 270 Internet publishers and more than 140 million monthly impressions, becomes Engage Asia through the deal.

“Engage’s strong worldwide reputation and breadth of media, measurement and analytical tools and Space’s Asian expertise and relationships are a perfect fit,” said Space chief executive officer and co-founder Colin McIntosh, who will stay on as president of the new Engage division.

Space’s network of sites will be integrated with Engage Media, the company’s ad serving division. The network will also tap into and contribute to the company’s Engage Knowledge database of anonymous profiles for optimization and tracking.

Engage already has a regional presence in Japan and Australia. The acquisition adds offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Seoul, and about 64 employees to Engage’s payroll.

Other terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The merger is not entirely unexpected; for one, Space for some time had been a reseller of Engage Media site inventory, and also bases its serving platform on Engage’s AdManager system.

More importantly, Engage’s biggest competitors have for some time maintained presences in the region.

“We have been looking at opportunities in Asia for some time, and feel that the acquisition of Space is the most effective way to help us leverage our expertise, technologies and data throughout this market,” said Engage president and CEO Paul Schaut.

“It also gives us the ability to hit the ground running with a local team that has specific experience in Asian media programs to bring the entire Engage model to the region relatively quickly,” he added.

The deal puts Engage squarely in the ring with competitors like 24/7, which operates 24/7 Media Asia in a joint venture with portal chinadotcom.

DoubleClick also is firmly entrenched in the region, within the past year opening offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

For most of that time, Space had proved the US-based ad networks’ toughest competition for the Asian market, company representing some of the region’s most trafficked publishers, including myrice.com, Singapore Press Holdings‘s network and Asiastockwatch.

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