Criteo has filed its public IPO documents with the SEC, meaning the IPO could be no more than a month away. The announcement, first picked up by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka, comes as no surprise – the IPO has been long awaited, and with the company’s acquisition of mobile adTech company AD-X in July, it was only a matter of time.
We’ve filed an F-1 with the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.
— Criteo (@criteo) September 18, 2013
Much of the IPO talk these days is around Twitter’s pending IPO, as well as Facebook’s recovery after its poor IPO last year, and Criteo, too, will have its fair share of skepticism – public market investors have not exactly been bullish on AdTech companies recently.
While Criteo’s Series D round of investment valued the company at around $800M, it is expected that the IPO will put the company’s valuation over $1 Billion, making it the largest IPO of a French company since Business Objects, which subsequently sold do SAP. Despite its push to the Silicon Valley – a move made a few years ago when Criteo began attacking the US market heavily – the bulk of the technical team is based in its headquarters in Paris, with cofounders Romain Niccoli and Jean-Baptiste Rudelle being based in Paris & London, respectively, in recent years.(Update: we previously stated that Criteo was headquartered in Mountain View. They are today headquartered in Paris).
Ultimately, the exit for the founders should provide a large influx of cash into the French startup scene – both Rudelle and Niccoli have been quite active in the startup scenes, with Rudelle speaking at the most recent France Digitale Day this past June.
Additionally, the exit will be a large sigh of relief for Criteo’s first investors, Elaia Partners, who have been heavily invested in Criteo’s growth from the beginning, and will likely see nice returns. While Elaia Partners announced a small Alpha fund for seed investment last year, the Criteo exit should give them the authority and returns to pick up a larger fund for Series A or larger investments.
While Criteo’s IPO in the US may not be the best news for the European Tech Market, which lacks an IPO exit opportunity for its fastest growing startups, it is a reminder, once again, that France, and Europe as a whole, continue to build startups that can grow to stable 9-figure revenues, and can innovate on top of incumbent American players.