Oracle shells out a Moat load of cash for online ad auditor

Oracle has continued its quest to buy its way into the cloud game with the acquisition of ad tracking company Moat for a reported $850 million.

Having recently admitted it was sniffing around after a period of media speculation, Oracle has confirmed the acquisition, though once it closes Moat will remain independent. The ad tracking software will be included in Oracle’s Data Cloud portfolio however. Oracle has been keeping quiet on how much its Moat will cost, but ReCode has reported the deal in the region of $850 million.

Investors must be rubbing their hands together following Oracle’s move. To date, Moat has raised $67.5 million through four funding rounds, the latest of which took place in March 2016 with Insight Venture Partners pumping in $50 million. Low end of the estimates across various media titles have the deal valued at $850 million, which certainly represents a solid bit of work for the VCs.

Moat’s technology has several applications, though the most prominent in recent months seems to be focused on the role of advertising auditor. In the most simple terms, Moat makes sure your advert appears alongside relevant content, whether that’s a video on Facebook, the right keyword searches on Google or related articles on (nudge nudge).

In a world of programmable advertising, where adverts are placed via automated ad networks, knowing the content is being appropriately allocated is an important and tricky task. Online advertising is relatively cheap to scale, though this scale makes it almost impossible to ensure all content is being appropriately placed. The last thing an advertiser wants is to have its brand splurged all over an extremist recruitment video on YouTube, hence the importance of Moat’s technology.

It’s a clever move from both sides. Moat’s founders and investors get a shed-load of coinage, whilst the technology also a huge distribution network through the big red machine that is Oracle. From Oracle’s perspective, it keeps the company relevant in the cloud age which it seemed to be losing touch with over the last couple of years. It might be a shallow move from Ellison and co. but as long as online advertising is around, companies like Moat will be in demand.

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