Big news on the financial battleground as European activist fund Petrus Advisers revealed their recent power move by announcing a stake in French adtech firm Criteo (NASDAQ:CRTO) on Friday.
With a bold reveal near the trading day’s close, Petrus Advisers unveiled a more than 5% stake in Criteo (CRTO) on Friday, as per a 13G filing. The activist now holds an impressive 2.88 million shares, making them among the top 10 holders of the company.
The activation of Petrus Advisers as a major stakeholder in Criteo (CRTO) comes at a pivotal moment when the adtech firm has been the subject of takeover speculation for several years. Reuters even reported in February that Criteo had engaged the services of banker Evercore to explore a potential sale.
In what can only be described as financial warfare, reports from 2021 indicated that Criteo (CRTO) had garnered takeover interest, with previous reports from 2017 hinting at a near acquisition by WPP (WPP), the advertising giant.
Let’s not forget the recent battles in the financial arena, as buyout firms have shown great interest in audience measurement and analytics. Notably, the October 2022 acquisition of Nielsen Holdings for a staggering $16 billion by Elliott Investment Management and Brookfield Business Partners has proven the ferocity of this domain.
Petrus Advisers is no stranger to shaking things up. In October, the firm took a small stake in Swiss banking software specialist Temenos (OTCPK:TMNSF) and accused the company of disregarding takeover interest from private equity investors.
Further cementing their presence in the financial fray, Petrus has also acquired stakes in German real estate lender Deutsche Pfandbriefbank AG (OTCPK:PBBGF) and initiated an activist campaign against Aareal Bank AG (OTCPK:AAALF). Additionally, the fund has been openly critical of German IT services company TeamViewer AG and its sponsorship deals with Manchester United (MANU) and the Mercedes Formula 1 racing team.
Throwing considerable weight behind Criteo, a recent analysis by a DA Davidson analyst suggested that the adtech firm could be an appealing acquisition target, potentially offering an impressive 40% upside in a potential takeover, with a price target range of $36-$46 a share.
Driven by its scale and relevance in the high-growth digital advertising and retail media space, and its strong free cash flow generation, Criteo (CRTO) is painted as a prime target for either strategic or private equity buyers, as per the analysis by DA Davidson.