Clipperton advises on Smart’s MBO transaction led by Capital Croissance

Clipperton acted as financial advisor to Smart and its shareholders on a MBO transaction led by Capital Croissance. This investment aims to bolster Smart’s growth and expansion plans for the next decade.

This deal illustrates Clipperton’s ability to serve its clients as a trusted advisor across various strategic decisions. Clipperton already advised Smart in 2019 on their acquisition of LiquidM, a Berlin-based Demand Side platform.

Smart is a leading independent ad tech platform. Founded in 2001 within the French digital media publisher AuFeminin, Smart became independent in 2015 and established itself as highly profitable business with a 10x revenue growth from €14m to €140m over the period. Smart works directly with hundreds of buyers and more than 1,000 premium publishers worldwide through a global footprint spanning 12 offices.

With Capital Croissance’s support as a new majority shareholder, Smart intends to continue its US and international expansion and to consolidate its vertical integration strategy, as well as to reinforce its ongoing development in the CTV market.

Arnaud Créput, CEO of Smart stated « With Capital Croissance’s active support, we will continue to build an ad tech powerhouse as a truly autonomous supply- and demand-side alternative to Google. Clipperton and the services provided have proved very helpful in supporting our growth strategy. »

Thibaut Revel, Managing Partner at Clipperton, commented «Successfully advising Smart in the two transactions over the last 12 months is a testament of our comprehensive range of advisory services for our technology clients, as well as of our commitment to operate as a long-term business partner. We are pleased to have contributed to this transaction supporting Smart’s next growth stage».

Clipperton’s role

Deal highlights & rationale

  • The management team of Smart and Capital Croissance will collectively buy out existing investor Cathay Capital. Cathay Capital will reinvest and retain a minority stake.
  • Capital Croissance, a French investment fund with a reputation for accelerating fast-growth companies through equity financing, aims to accelerate Smart’s growth ambitions to fully take advantage of the growing importance of scaled, vertically integrated ad tech platforms.
  • As a part of this restructured financing, Smart’s management team is raising its collective stake from 8% to 15%.
  • Adelie Capital is also a co-investor in this transaction.

Deal team 

Click here for a list of our recent transactions.

About Smart:

Smart is the leading independent adtech platform built to serve the interests of both buyers and publishers. Smart’s fully transparent platform and shared-interest business approach enables brands and premium publishers to get their fair share of ad value at every opportunity, on their terms. Brands can achieve greater efficiency through their advertising spend, and publishers can act with certainty and have the control they need to provide the right blend of transaction models, channels, formats, and audience data to deliver true value path optimization to brands. 

Smart works directly with hundreds of buyers and more than 1,000 publishers worldwide including GPMC, American Media, GSN, Tastemade, Altice Media Publicité, Groupe Marie-Claire, Le bon Coin, Le Monde, Mailonline, The Guardian, Reach PLC, Axel Springer, Wetteronline, Burda Forward, El Confidencial, Prisa and Unidad Editorial to deliver display, video, native, and rich-media ads to over 50,000 sites and apps. Smart is ranked on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA and in the Financial Times’ FT 1000: Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies.

The company operates 12 offices worldwide and leads the charge in building a transparent ecosystem based on quality. Smart is a “GDPR ready” company as certified by independent data protection specialist, ePrivacy GmbH.