17 Feb 2021

Freshfields advises underwriters on Viant Technology’s IPO

The ad tech player’s IPO was valued at nearly $300m

By Madeline Anderson

Freshfields partner Sarah Solum

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer announced it acted as legal counsel to the underwriters, Bank of America Securities and UBS Investment Bank, on the $287.5m IPO of US-based advertising software company Viant Technology.

The firm’s New York-based capital markets team that advised the underwriters consisted of partners Sarah Solum and Pamela Marcogliese, counsel Brian Lewis and associate Rebecca Mistifer. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority advice was given by counsel Jeremy Barr and tax advice was provided by partner Robert Scarborough and senior associate David Mitchell.

IP, privacy and cybersecurity advice was offered by partner Menachem Kaplan, special counsel Peter Jaffe and associates Marissa Yu and Jillian Simons, while partner Nabeel Yousef and associate Hannah Khalifeh advised on sanctions.

“We were very pleased to be involved in the IPO of Viant Technology, which automates the planning, buying and measurement of ads across channels, including connected TV, using a cookieless approach,” Freshfields US capital market head Sarah Solum said.

Viant’s IPO was co-managed by Canaccord Genuity, JMP Securities, Needham & Company and Raymond James.

After filing a registration statement for the proposed IPO in January, Viant first set the terms earlier this month and began trading on 10 February. The IPO was upsized to 11.5m shares of Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, including all shares subject to the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares from Viant’s existing stakeholders.

California-based Viant makes advertising technology designed to help marketers and ad agencies plan and keep track of their spots across different electronic channels. Adelphic, its demand side platform, enables clients to execute programmatic advertising campaigns across desktop, mobile, audiovisual and digital billboards.

Viant opened at $25 per share and quickly saw the stock price jump 90 percent shortly after its public debut, which reflect the interest investors have taken in ad tech firms during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers spend more time on their devices while staying at home. As more ads are being purchased online, investors are throwing money at digital advertising companies to capitalise on the opportunities brought about by the stay-at-home economy.

Despite the success of Viant’s IPO and fellow ad tech player The Trade Desk’s shares soaring up to 200 percent at the end of last year, the sector may soon find itself in a precarious position. The ad tech market was formerly considered something of a gamble, but the pandemic has led it to become worth its weight in gold. But as businesses and travel begin to reopen and the need to stay home disappears, the heightened focus on the ad tech sector might go along with it.

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