Yahoo! Acquires SSP 5to1, Gets Levinsohn’s Old Fox Interactive Team


ADOTAS – You could file it under more consolidation news in the revenue optimizer space, but seems there’s more to meet the eye in Yahoo!’s latest acquisition. Right after PubMatic added 57 brands to its publisher base with the acquisition of ReviNet, Yahoo! has acquired supply-side platform 5to1.

With 25 premium publishers, 5to1 seems like a small fry, but the company was still operating in beta as it built its base. John Ebbert at AdExchanger makes this prescient observation: “Given that Right Media Exchange’s best inventory comes from Yahoo!, it will be interesting to see if 5to1 inventory will be used to augment the exchange’s scale.”

However, there also seems to be acquihire aspect to the deal. Yahoo! EVP of Americas Ross Levinsohn, who since his hiring in October has been floated as a Carol Bartz replacement, was a cofounder of 5to1, and his old buddy from Fox Interactive Media, Jim Heckman, was CEO and cofounder. In fact, TechCrunch noted that 5to1’s executive board is filled FIM vets: CRO Peter Foster, CFO Mitchell Chun, EVP John Smelzer and COO Mark Stieglitz.

Mike Arrington commented that “this is the team that oversaw MySpace in the glory years, including their nearly $1 billion search deal with Google.”

Wait — I thought the glory days of MySpace were before News Corp. got its grubby fingers all over the social network. Well, Yahoo! can’t get any worse… Can it?

The acquisition is set to close in the second quarter and the 5to1 staff will join the Yahoo! Ad Marketplaces group. Is Levinsohn is reassembling his old team for his future reign, or is Yahoo! hoping there’s some of the old FIM magic left in the gang?

Also of note: 5to1 raised $13 million in funding — one of the chief investors was Fuse Capital. You may have heard of the fund’s cofounder and former managing partner: Ross Levinsohn.


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