Rocket Fuel and the Revitalization of Ad Tech

December 9th, 2013

It’s amazing what a couple of months can do. In July, the Ad Tech sector was reeling from its third underwhelming IPO of the year – Marin Software (MRIN), YuMe (YUME) and Tremor Video (TRMR) – and 2012 IPO Millennial Media’s stock (MM) was also languishing. Not a day would go by without another press article on the coming doom. The themes were consistent: Ad Tech is fragmented and competitive and public investors don’t like the industry.

Then came Rocket Fuel and everything changed.

Rocket Fuel (FUEL) went public on September 20, 2013 and was very well received by the market. The issue traded up 93% on its opening day and currently supports an approximate $1.5 billion market capitalization. The stock trades at a substantially higher multiple than the other industry comparables thanks to advanced technology and a growth rate worthy of the company name.

Currently, investor attitudes towards the sector have improved dramatically. Other positive events led to the rebound such as well-priced M&A deals for programmatic Ad Tech companies Adap.TV (bought by Aol) and MoPub (bought by Twitter) as well as the successful IPO of retargeter Criteo (CRTO). While all of these factors contributed to the change in investor perception, the Rocket Fuel IPO was clearly the inflection point. We believe this bodes well for other scaled quality companies in Ad Tech as they seek public finance options in the quarters ahead.

LUMA Securities, a wholly-owned broker-dealer of LUMA Partners, acted as co-managing underwriter to Rocket Fuel. This was LUMA’s first co-managed IPO and represents an extension of our product suite from M&A and private capital finance advisory to public finance underwriting. Our strategy is to selectively assist leading companies in the digital media sector as they pursue public market finance options. For issuers, we leverage our deep industry knowledge to help position the offering as well as prepare management for investor inquiry.

Look for more activity in 2014!

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