Triton Digital’s tentacles reach deep into the digital audio ecosystem with core services in technology, infrastructure, data and analytics. Now, in a merger with podcast specialist Audioboom, the stage is set for privately held Triton to become a publicly traded company and a more significant technology player, with a larger global footprint and an expanded menu of services.
U.K.-based Audioboom is buying Triton Digital’s parent company, Triton Digital Canada Inc., for $185 million. But under a reverse takeover, Triton’s management team will run the combined company under the name Triton Digital Group.
Audioboom focuses on the rapidly growing podcast space, hosting, monetizing and distributing podcasts from 400 broadcasters, content creators and podcasters around the world. Triton provides digital audio technology, measurement and other services for broadcasters and web pureplays, operating in 45 countries.
Triton Digital chief executive Neal Schore, who will lead the combined company, says the marriage will expand Triton’s global footprint, enlarge its workforce and complement its technology. “The pieces of Audioboom’s technology fit squarely into Triton’s stack,” he told Inside Radio. “We will remain a technology company focused on servicing the media industry.”
The deal will give Triton more resources with which to develop new products and flesh out its technology. “We’ll have more resources to move faster and continue to innovate,” Schore said.
The combined company plans to introduce new podcast data and analytics products in the coming months, Schore said, as an extension to its Webcast Metrics streaming audio measurement service. But with Triton’s focus on technology, it’s unclear what the merger means for Audioboom’s podcast content and sales business – areas where Triton doesn’t currently operate. Schore said that is “under review” and the company will work through those details, and adopt an integrated organizational chart before closing.
Audioboom CEO Robert Proctor has been named executive director, continuing to oversee the Audioboom operations. Apart from that change, all employees in both companies will keep their existing positions, Schore said.
A Merger Years In The Making
Talks between the two companies began in 2014 but Triton wasn’t ready to operate as a public company then, says Schore who co-founded Trition with Mike Agovino in 2006. Audioboom was eager to go public so the merger talks were put on hold. The companies reconnected last year and began serious discussion just after Thanksgiving. The deal is expected to close in early April 2018.
Triton is currently owned by Vector Capital and members of the Triton management team. The deal will mark Vector’s exit from the company. Members of Triton’s management team with a stake in the company will become shareholders in the combined company after closing.
Audioboom says it will raise around $215 million (£35 million) in new shares to fund the deal — well above its market capitalization of around $48.6 million (£35 million). The transaction is subject to shareholder approval and contingent on executing a share purchase agreement and raising the funds necessary to finance the acquisition. Audioboom has temporarily suspended trading on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) while the transaction moves through the process. After the deal closes, Triton will trade on AIM.
While Triton rose to its current position through acquisitions, such as its 2009 purchase of measurement provider Ando Media, it lately has been absent from the deal table. Tuesday’s announcement signals a return to acquisition mode for the company. “Triton has historically been very acquisitive although it did take a break three years ago to focus internally and to reemphasize our customer service,” Schore said. Triton used the time to solidify its client partnerships and tailor offerings to meet their individual needs. “Now that we have a good sense of the growing marketplace, including the revenue that’s flowing in, we’ll get back to our M&A roots and pursue several exciting opportunities that are on our radar after this deal closes,” Schore said.
With advertising spending on podcasts forecast to reach $500 million by 2020, the space has been flooded with content creators, from commercial and public radio broadcasters to web pureplays to newspaper and TV companies. “Most of our clients are either already active or about to become active with podcasting,” Schore says. “Our focus remains a tech company but you’ll see some exiting product announcements from us in the coming months around data and analytics, including measurement for live and on-demand audio that will help support the growth of the industry.”