ANA and 4As say Google’s cookie cull will ‘choke off’ adtech firms’ economic oxygen- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The Association of Tempemail Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) have called on Google to think again following its recent decision to block third-party cookies on its Chrome web browser from 2022.
For 25 years, third-party browser cookies have tracked the journeys of internet users. These maligned lines of code are unlikely to celebrate a 30th anniversary, however, with Google revealing plans to block them across its Chrome browser by 2022.
Given Chrome’s mammoth 66% monopoly on the browser market, the move has raised big questions about the future of cross-site tracking, retargeting and ad-serving for the adtech industry.
In a joint statement, ANA and 4A’s executive vice president Dan Jaffe and Dick O’Brien remarked: “Google’s decision to block third-party cookies in Chrome could have major competitive impacts for digital businesses, consumer services, and technological innovation. It would threaten to substantially disrupt much of the infrastructure of today’s Internet without providing any viable alternative, and it may choke off the economic oxygen from advertising that startups and emerging companies need to survive.
“We are deeply disappointed that Google would unilaterally declare such a major change without prior careful consultation across the digital and advertising industries. We intend to work with stakeholders and policymakers to ensure that there are effective and competitive alternatives available prior to Google’s planned change fully taking effect. We will also collaborate with Google in this effort, so we can all ensure the digital advertising marketplace continues to be competitive and efficient.
“In the interim, we strongly urge Google to publicly and quickly commit to not imposing this moratorium on third party cookies until effective and meaningful alternatives are available.”
Criticism of its cookie policy is unlikely to perturb Google too much with its parent company Alphabet logging a market valuation of one trillion dollars for the first time.

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Agency restructuring and economic fears drive down 2019 M&A activity- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The marketing services industry saw mergers and acquisitions (M&A) decline by nearly $5bn in 2019 thanks to global trade tensions and agency restructuring.
According to consulting firm R3, global M&A deals totaled $27.7bn last year. North American companies were the biggest spenders at $19.9bn, but trade worries and regulatory scrutiny curtailed investment in foreign markets such as China and Asia Pacific.
“Buyers have been looking at investments that will strengthen their position in an uncertain geopolitical climate,” said Greg Paull, principal at R3. “Though martech and adtech have driven M&A value, there has been more interest in acquisitions that will increase regional presence and serviceability.”
Holding companies cut their number of acquisitions by more than half compared to 2018, though total spend on M&A remained consistent.
Publicis Groupe, headlined by its $3.95bn acquisition of Epsilon, was the top holdco spender last year at over $4.1bn. Dentsu Aegis Network struck the most deals at 12.
“Restructuring has shifted attention away from volume and forced holding companies to attend to integration,” said Paull. “It’s been about what’s going to help win new business.”
Last year did bring in a new class of buyers. Publicis and Dentsu were the only major holding companies to rank on R3’s list of top 10 spenders, sitting at the one and five spots, respectively. Bain Capital, Accenture and Blackstone rounded out the top five.
Private equity accounted for 44% of global M&A activity, totaling $6.6bn. Of note, Bain Capital purchased a majority of Kantar, and Blackstone bought Vungle.
“The ‘buy and build’ strategy of cash-rich PE-backed agencies over the past few years has kept the M&A landscape buzzing,” Paull said. “We expect to see continued PE investment in marketing services in the new year, though transactions are likely to be more modest.”
M&A activity in EMEA increased by roughly 14% in 2019 despite concerns of how Brexit may impact the region. Deal activity in China decreased by 54%, making it the country’s slowest M&A year of the decade.
Investment in APAC slowed by 9%, though Paull said the region “remains of interest to buyers wanting to address marketplace complexity” in the region.
While most acquisition targets were martech and adtech companies, 2019 saw double-digit growth in both the number of transactions and overall value for production houses and CRM companies.

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U.S. Treasury just designated China as a currency manipulator, so expect more economic shocks – gpgmail


The U.S. Treasury has just taken the extraordinary step of designating China as a currency manipulator, something no administration has done since the days of Bill Clinton.

With the action, the trade war between the U.S. and China has entered a new phase that will likely see both countries stepping up both their rhetoric and actions in the trade dispute that has now dragged on for over a year.

As a result of the ongoing hostilities between the U.S. government and China, the flood of investment dollars that once came from Chinese technology companies and investors into U.S. technology companies has slowed. Acquisitions and investments made by Chinese companies have been unwound over concerns from the Committee of Foreign Investments in the U.S. and tariffs slapped on Chinese imports have hit U.S. stock prices (including in the technology sector).

The news of Treasury’s move comes less than 24 hours after the Chinese government announced a complete halt on U.S. agricultural imports. More significantly, the Bank of China has let the country’s currency slide in value against the U.S. dollar to above the seven-to-one figure that was considered a line-in-the-sand for trade.

Given the escalation, economists’ fears that global markets could slip into a recession within the next nine months are more likely to be realized, according to reports from Morgan Stanley, quoted by CNBC.

“We take its literal message of planned tariffs quite seriously. There’s a pattern of responding to insufficient negotiation progress with escalation,” Morgan Stanley said in an analyst report.

The move to label China as a currency manipulator means that the U.S. will plead its case before the International Monetary Fund to take steps to curb what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called “the unfair competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.”

If anything, China’s actions have actually been to prop up the country’s currency in the face of internal pressures to break the seven-to-one floor that had previously been set on the Renminbi’s value versus the dollar. China’s economy is slowing — in part due to tariffs imposed by the U.S., but also because economies in Europe and Asia are slowing down, which is hitting exports in the country. Indeed, much of the current growth in China’s economy has been fueled by debt-financed big infrastructure projects.

That could change as Chinese goods become cheaper thanks to the falling value of the nation’s currency. However, as Axios notes, what China is doing doesn’t actually fall under the definition of currency manipulation as it’s legally defined.

Because to be a currency manipulator a country needs to spend 2% of its gross domestic product over a 12-month period on currency manipulation. If anything, China was boosting the yuan in the face of calls to reduce its value until the President called for sanctions last week.

Even if the country’s currency devaluation does juice exports, it could have unforeseen consequences on China’s infrastructure spending and could backfire as a tool in the ongoing trade dispute.

A weaker currency means that Chinese consumers and businesses have to pay more for goods and services that are dollar-denominated. It also means that while the country is awash with cash, it could lose its competitive edge in a fight to lure top talent to the country. Losses in spending power could push the developers and programmers the country needs to transition from a manufacturing-focused economy to look elsewhere.

Stock markets are already taking note of the new U.S. action on trade. Futures show the Dow trading down about 350 points and the Nasdaq and S&P 500 indices both trading sharply lower.


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