Ad Network Consolidation: Hi-Media Buys AdLink Media

Paris-based online media group Hi-media has announced its acquisition of AdLINK Media, the display advertising unit of AdLINK Internet Media (also the company behind SEDO and Affilinet, which are not being sold), itself a part of Germany’s ISP United Internet. Still with us?

The acquisition comes about 18 months after the latter assigned Morgan Stanley to assist in the sale of the European display advertising power-broker.

At that time, a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung report citing anonymous sources indicated that AdLink Group expected a three-digit million euro sum from the sale of the unit, adding that AdLink’s valuation was nearly €400 million. That’s a far cry from today, with AdLINK Media getting valued south of €30 million.

The terms of agreement, which are fairly complex, straight from the press release:

AdLINK Media is valued at 29.4 million euros and will be transferred to Hi-media net of any cash and of all debt. According to the terms of the agreement protocol, the consideration paid for this transfer will be:

– 3,940,000 newly created shares in consideration for a portion of the AdLINK Media shares;
– 795,000 existing shares currently held by the Hi-media Group for the remaining shares of AdLINK Media plus;
– A deferred payment in the form of a vendor loan of 12.2 million euros.

This vendor loan, which will end the 30th of June 2011, is repayable in fine and will have an interest rate of 3.7% for the first 12 months and then 5% afterwards. The shares to be held post acquisition by AdLINK AG will be subject to a one year lockup period.

AdLINK Internet Media AG will become a major shareholder in Hi-media Group with 10.7% of the capital, along with investors IDI and BV capital, and will henceforth concentrate operationally on its other business units.

According to its website, AdLink Media currently boasts sales offices in 13 countries and powered the display advertising network for about 4,000 websites, claiming a guaranteed reach of more than 80 million unique visitors across Europe (press release says 93 million uniques per month). Its employee count is about 200, and according to its latest earnings report AdLink Media had sales of €14.2 million in the first quarter of this year.

Hi-media currently employs over 390 people and operates in 9 countries: France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, China, USA and Brazil. The company deploys a range of services linking website publishing (via Hi-media Publishing) and audience monetization (via Hi-media Services). Founded in 1996, Hi-media currently boasts over 50 million unique monthly visitors on its proprietary websites. Its latest financial statement shows that the group reported a consolidated turnover of €135.7 million for 2008, with a net income of about €10 million.

And thus, the consolidation on the display advertising market continues.