Epsilon acquires Retargetly, expanding database to Latin America

Publicis Groupe data firm identified LATAM as ‘gap’ to deliver growth across the company.

Epsilon, the data company owned by Publicis Groupe, is expanding into Latin America with the acquisition of Buenos Aires-based data firm Retargetly.

Retargetly has first-party data on consumers in every country in Latin America, collected over an eight-year span. Its data will be used to enrich Epsilon’s global identity graph, Core ID. Epsilon said it has a small amount of data in a few countries in LATAM, but Retargetly will significantly expand its reach.

Epsilon has been using Retargetly’s data in its products for the past four years. With the acquisition, it plans to integrate the full breadth of Retargetly’s data into its Core ID graph so it can begin selling its solutions in LATAM, starting with large markets of Brazil and Mexico. 

In smaller markets where Epsilon’s tech products are “too heavy,” Retargetly’s “light” tech solutions designed for companies early in their data journey will be offered to clients.

“We want to really deliver across all client needs wherever they are in that data maturity roadmap. We don't want to price anything out of the market,” Kate Sirkin, EVP of global data partnerships at Epsilon, told Campaign US.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Retargetly will operate as a standalone unit within Epsilon with its own P&L and management, retaining its 120-strong team. Chief executive and cofounder Daniel Czaplinski will report to Thibault Hennion, MD of Epsilon’s international operations.

“Our goal is to continue investing into the business through its own cash flow, with help from the larger Epsilon capabilities,” said Santi Darmandrail, chief operating officer at Retargetly.

“On the roadmap is to deliver smaller products in the beginning that then turn into bigger things as we integrate the teams better. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of ups and downs in that process, but we’ve been working long enough that we’re comfortable and we have a lot of things that we can do short term to deliver value for our clients,” he added.

Retargetly has 250 clients across LATAM and already shares some auto, CPG and retail clients with Epsilon.

Darmandrail said LATAM is a “very challenging market” and Retargetly was looking for an opportunity to tap the expertise of a larger business.

Epsilon has been in the data industry for more than 50 years with roots in direct mail, and employs 8,000 staff worldwide. Its scale “provides a lot of trust for our customers,” Darmandrail said, as well as access to “top rate law firms and global privacy experts.”

Epsilon had identified LATAM as a “gap” to deliver growth for the wider Publicis Groupe, Sirkin said.

Retargetly brings “boots-on-the-ground” expertise and knowledge of the region.

“In the U.S., when you build technology and data it’s pretty homogeneous. But LATAM is 25 different countries with their own languages and their own cultures and their own ways of doing things. It takes a lot of local expertise to understand that,” said Darmandrail.

Retargetly’s data collection processes also differ from Epsilon. Because the data industry is nascent in LATAM, data brokers don’t yet exist, so Retargetly collects all of its data directly from publishers and app developers. 

“It’s not like you buy from 100 different sources and then build something that’s hard to trace back, and I think that'’s great for privacy reasons because then we can audit where it came from and how it was collected,” said Darmandrail.

This is a different model to Epsilon, which operates a data co-operative in which data is shared and enriched between hundreds, sometimes thousands, of firms. These models are under increased scrutiny in the U.S. Epsilon was sued by the Department of Justice in 2021 for facilitating mail fraud schemes targeted at the elderly.

This story first appeared on campaignlive.com. 

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