Russell Fradin - CEO, Dynamic Signal

On Getting Acquired

Russell Fradin, CEO Dynamic Signal, Former CEO Adify, BoD at comScore
Russell Fradin is the CEO and Co-Founder and of Dynamic Signal. He is currently a Board Director at comScore, CoachArt, and TubeMogul. He was formerly a Board Director at Udemy. Russell was the CEO and Co-Founder of Adify Corportation, a technology platform and media company focused on vertically-oriented advertising networks. Adify was acquired by Cox Enterprises in 2008 for $300M.

Summary Notes on Getting Acquired

Best practices for dealing with potential acquirers

  • Large companies are tracking hundreds of companies; the odds of acquisition are very small, and entrepreneurs should be focused on running their business and building great relationships
  • Anyone who might acquire is a potential partner, investor or competitor
  • Entrepreneur should be open to building relationships with these parties but not spend a ton of time in the process
  • Do not be too secretive – a poor dialogue with a corporate development executive will push the corporate to move on

Experience building acquirer relationship and selling Adify in 2008

  • The key was being transparent and honest with the three main suitors during the 18 months leading up to acquisition

Experience with potential acquirers while at comScore

  • Knew early on that several prospective buyers would never pay what comScore wanted; however, because comScore liked some of these suitors, they turned into interesting partners down the line

Experience currently building Dynamic Signal and how to think about acquisition chances

  • Chances of acquisition are very low, but six of the eight potential buyers turned into paying customers, so the relationships with potential acquirers were ultimately valuable

Best practices on choosing investors and advisors for thinking about acquisitions

  • Find investors who are not so narrowly minded on selling just to sell
  • Great advisors can be bankers, investors, other entrepreneurs
  • “Most people will be extraordinarily helpful to folks who ask for help”