ADTECH Picks Up AdForce Licenses, Splits with CMGI

Following the closure of online advertising server AdForce, fellow CMGI ad firm ADTECH is severing its ties to its parent and onetime sibling.

A new investment from private donors will help ADTECH — which is based in Neu-Isenburg, Germany — spin itself off from Andover, Mass.-based Internet holding company CMGI.

Through a separate agreement with CMGI, ADTECH also said it would acquire the worldwide license to AdForce’s technology. Terms were not disclosed of the investment or the deal with CMGI.

“The new ownership structure leaves us more room to maneuver and shows the independence of our company,” said ADTECH chief executive Michael Schultheiss. “By focusing on technology and an ASP approach, ADTECH has reached a very strong position in the online marketing space and already serves customers in eleven European countries … The investment commitment underlines ADTECH’s unique market position. We are developing against the market trend.”

The agreement to part ways with the holding company concludes a nearly two-year relationship between the two. In late 1999, CMGI plunked down an undisclosed amount for an 80 percent share in the firm. Ultimately, CMGI said that it planned to merge ADTECH’s technology with that of AdForce, CMGI’s U.S.-based ad server, and to use ADTECH’s relationships in Europe to further AdForce’s expansion.

Evidently, however, that never came to pass. ADTECH said that it only now is planning to merge AdForce’s platform with its own, and it expects to roll out a new version of the combined software in coming weeks.

“By this purchase we can integrate the best of two worlds and can realize upcoming and ongoing projects even faster,” Michael Schultheiss said.

The company did not disclose specifically what those projects might be, but it hinted that there might be a workflow-automation product in the works — potentially similar to one offered by another CMGI ad firm, Engage.

Friday’s new developments come three months after CMGI’s closure of AdForce, which the Internet holding company had been trying to sell, but found itself unable to track down a buyer. At the time, the shutdown of AdForce had threatened to leave several ad serving clients hanging, such as 24/7 Media’s European division. (24/7 Media quickly deployed a version of its own server, Connect, into Europe.)

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