Sharethrough Acquires UK’s VAN As A Springboard For International Growth

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Advertising company Sharethrough announced today that it’s moving into Europe with the acquisition of a London-based company called VAN.

The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed. Sharethrough’s head of communications Thomas Channick told me via email that the VAN team will form “our core” in Europe, although the company plans to double the team’s size by the end of the year.

I hadn’t heard of VAN before this acquisition, but it sounds like the companies do similar things. Sharethrough has embraced the idea of native advertising (i.e. ads that resemble the content of the site that they’re running on), and it says its exchange for in-feed, native ads has a reach of 230 million uniques each month — but it’s been largely US-focused until now.

VAN, meanwhile, had a mission “to help brands create and distribute great branded content campaigns that people want to share,” according to a note by Chris Quigley posted on the VAN website. VAN clients, including UKTV, BBC, Car Throttle and Phillips, will be moved to Sharethrough’s publisher and advertising platforms, while Quigley is now the managing director of Sharethrough Europe. (The all caps company name, by the way, initially stood for “viral ad network.”)

“VAN’s publisher and advertiser relationships have provided a great launchpad into the European market – however the size of the opportunity is much bigger than what VAN and its technology could achieve on its own,” Channick said. “Through the acquisition of the VAN’s advertiser sales team and publisher relationships, along with the addition of Sharethrough leading-edge technology, it gives Sharethrough a real opportunity to quickly become a force in the European market.”

At the beginning of the year, Sharethrough announced that it had raised $17 million in new funding (a combination of debt and equity).