Cathay Capital plans to partner with Smart AdServer to support its independence and growth

May 4, 2020

Cathay Capital Private Equity, the first self-made global private equity firm and a leader in cross-border investment across China, Europe and North America, today announces that it has made a put option to the aufeminin group for the acquisition of Smart AdServer, which would subsequently become independent. With the support of Cathay Capital, Smart AdServer intends to strongly accelerate its development to become a leading advertising platform. This investment would be made by the Cathay Capital II and the Sino-French Fund for SMEs, two investment vehicles dedicated to accelerating the international growth of small and midcap companies.

Since 2001, Smart AdServer has developed and marketed an integrated advertising management platform, with strong positioning in Europe and significant market share in North and South America. Historically positioned on ad serving, with a recognized leadership on mobile advertising, the company launched its Smart RTB+ and Smart Video solutions in 2013. These two strategic sources of growth are both experiencing an exponential development. In 2014, the company also entered the North American market by opening an office in New York.

Smart AdServer employs a hundred employees across 10 countries and generated a turnover of 14 million Euros in 2014. Every month, the company delivers more than 140 billion advertising impressions (20 billion for mobiles), for more than 450 clients (publishers, marketers and agencies), 300 of which are international leading brands. Among Smart AdServer’s clients are Hi Media, Axel Springer, Le Figaro, Antevenio, Clarin, Le Monde, IQ Digital, Netbook, L’Equipe, aufeminin, etc.

Cathay Capital plans to partner with Smart AdServer with the intention of accelerating the company’s international business development, particularly by leveraging Cathay’s strong experience in cross-border growth strategies and active presence across three continents (North America, Europe and China). In the United States, the company could thus build on its initial success on this market by potentially strengthening its New York office and by shortly opening an office on the West Coast so as to have total coverage of the USA. Then, Smart AdServer would look to develop its activities in Asia in the coming years.

With Cathay Capital’s support and experience, the company could accelerate its development to become the leading advertising platform for premium players. The company would be able to undertake significant innovation investments in order to strengthen its leadership position on its historical activities while continuing to build strong positions on the emerging business areas that are programmatic and video.

Mingpo Cai, President of Cathay Capital Private Equity, stated: “We are delighted at the prospect of welcoming Smart AdServer’s teams, led by its talented CEO Cyrille Geffray, into the Cathay ecosystem. Smart AdServer is a historical actor within a market experiencing strong growth, driven by the strong rise in programmatic investments within advertiser’s budgets as well as the strong business dynamic ongoing in the United States. We therefore expect the market potential of Smart AdServer to rise from 60 million dollars today to over 3 billion dollars by 2017. Provided that the transaction unfolds as planned, our truly global footprint and vast business network spanning three continents should help Smart AdServer to leverage these positive fundamentals by stepping up its international expansion.


About Cathay Capital Private Equity

Cathay Capital Private Equity, founded by Mingpo Cai and Edouard Moinet in Paris in 2006, is the leading global middle-market, private equity firm created by Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs. As an expert in creating value through cross-border investments in China, Europe and North America, Cathay Capital is fully dedicated to helping its portfolio company management teams focus on growth and succeed beyond their original borders. Cathay’s unique platform on three continents – and offices currently located in Shanghai, Beijing, New York and Paris – as well as its multicultural team including thirty investment professionals, enables the firm to locally accelerate cross-border growth strategies through its broad local ecosystems. As of December 31, 2014, Cathay Capital had invested in 36 companies and had over 900 million euros under management.

About Smart AdServer

Founded in 2001, Smart AdServer provides tech solutions for online advertising. Smart AdServer’s intelligent and interconnected platform makes it possible to manage both direct and programmatic advertising campaigns across all digital media: online, mobile apps or video content. An independent and key player in the ad tech market, Smart AdServer has more than 100 employees in 10 offices worldwide. The company has more than 450 customers around the world and is the partner of choice of premium media companies who emphasise their strategic autonomy, including Hi Media, Axel Springer, Le Figaro, Antevenio, Clarin, Le Monde, IQ Digital, Netbook, L’Equipe, etc

Press Contacts

Yoann Besse – [email protected] – Tel : +33 (0)1 53 32 78 89 / +33 (0)6 63 03 84 91

Céline Poindron – [email protected] – Tel. +33 1 53 57 79 69

Parties involved

Acquirer: Cathay Capital Private Equity (Fabien Wesse, Yujuan Liu, Jean-François Cochy)


Acquirer advisors:

  • Legal advisor: De Pardieu Brocas Maffei (Jean-François Pourdieu, Matthieu Candia, Hugues de Fouchier)
  • Financial due-diligence: Mazars (Luc Marty, Sébastien Feltesse)
  • Strategic due-diligence: Roland Berger (Anne Bioulac, Jérôme Colin, Diane de Zélicourt)

Seller advisors:

  • Conseil financier: LD&A Jupiter (Matthieu Rosset, Romain Stokes)
  • Conseil juridique: Clifford Chance (Mathieu Rémy, Justine Souchay)

Mezzanine lender:

  • Trocadero Capital (Philippe Bruneau, Nicolas Gagnez)

Senior lenders:

  • Banque Populaire Rives de Paris (Olivier Grisard, Jean-Luc Rambaud)
  • Caisse d’Epargne et de Prévoyance Ile de France (Julien Jonasson)
  • Crédit du Nord (Bruno Lebugle, Hugues François)

Mezzanine lender advisors: Archers (Marc Baffreau)

Senior lenders advisors: Agilys Avocats (Frédéricque Milotic)