SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|x||QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the quarterly period ended September 30, 2023
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from __________ to __________
Commission File Number: 001-37879
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
42 N. Chestnut Street
Ventura, California 93001
(Address of principal executive offices, including zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (805) 585-3434
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A Common Stock, par value $0.000001 per share||TTD||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes x No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|
|Smaller reporting company|
|Emerging growth company|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No x
As of October 31, 2023, the registrant had 446,261,113 shares of Class A common stock and 44,035,900 shares of Class B common stock outstanding.
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
QUARTERLY REPORT ON FORM 10-Q
PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION
Item 1. Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except par values)
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||1,071,764 ||$||1,030,506 |
|Short-term investments, net||450,117 ||416,080 |
Accounts receivable, net of allowance for credit losses of $11,722 and $10,477 as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively
|2,434,047 ||2,347,195 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||57,878 ||51,836 |
|TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS||4,013,806 ||3,845,617 |
|Property and equipment, net||152,863 ||173,759 |
|Operating lease assets||208,583 ||220,396 |
|Deferred income taxes||94,028 ||94,028 |
|Other assets, non-current||51,152 ||46,879 |
|TOTAL ASSETS||$||4,520,432 ||$||4,380,679 |
|LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY|
|Accounts payable||$||1,967,649 ||$||1,871,419 |
|Accrued expenses and other current liabilities||121,616 ||105,474 |
|Operating lease liabilities||57,890 ||52,430 |
|TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITIES||2,147,155 ||2,029,323 |
|Operating lease liabilities, non-current||190,207 ||208,527 |
|Other liabilities, non-current||27,544 ||27,490 |
|TOTAL LIABILITIES||2,364,906 ||2,265,340 |
|Commitments and contingencies (Note 11)|
Preferred stock, par value $0.000001; 100,000 shares authorized, zero shares issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022
|— ||— |
Common stock, par value $0.000001
Class A, 1,000,000 shares authorized; 446,208 and 446,456 shares issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively
Class B, 95,000 shares authorized; 44,036 and 44,012 shares issued and outstanding as of September 30, 2023 and December 31, 2022, respectively
|— ||— |
|Additional paid-in capital||1,835,107 ||1,449,825 |
|Retained earnings||320,419 ||665,514 |
|TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY||2,155,526 ||2,115,339 |
|TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY||$||4,520,432 ||$||4,380,679 |
The accompanying Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
|Three Months Ended|
|Nine Months Ended|
|Revenue||$||493,266 ||$||394,773 ||$||1,340,323 ||$||1,087,058 |
|Platform operations||93,382 ||70,124 ||264,903 ||201,504 |
|Sales and marketing||112,466 ||85,038 ||321,177 ||245,146 |
|Technology and development||117,772 ||79,915 ||309,790 ||235,397 |
|General and administrative||131,969 ||130,892 ||388,411 ||391,517 |
|Total operating expenses||455,589 ||365,969 ||1,284,281 ||1,073,564 |
|Income from operations||37,677 ||28,804 ||56,042 ||13,494 |
|Other expense (income):|| || || || |
Interest income, net
|Foreign currency exchange loss (gain), net||(1,697)||43 ||(1,721)||(435)|
|Total other income, net||(19,323)||(1,698)||(51,277)||(1,756)|
|Income before income taxes||57,000 ||30,502 ||107,319 ||15,250 |
|Provision for income taxes||17,648 ||14,633 ||25,702 ||33,052 |
|Net income (loss)||$||39,352 ||$||15,869 ||$||81,617 ||$||(17,802)|
|Earnings (loss) per share:|
|Basic||$||0.08 ||$||0.03 ||$||0.17 ||$||(0.04)|
|Diluted||$||0.08 ||$||0.03 ||$||0.16 ||$||(0.04)|
|Weighted-average shares outstanding:|| || || || |
|Basic||489,447 ||487,963 ||489,195 ||486,168 |
|Diluted||501,880 ||500,300 ||500,348 ||486,168 |
The accompanying Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
|Class A and B|
|Balance as of December 31, 2021||483,441 ||$||— ||$||915,177 ||$||612,129 ||$||1,527,306 |
|Exercise of common stock options||2,395 ||— ||24,408 ||— ||24,408 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||190 ||— ||(13,428)||— ||(13,428)|
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||125,415 ||— ||125,415 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||(14,598)||(14,598)|
|Balance as of March 31, 2022||486,026 ||— ||1,051,572 ||597,531 ||1,649,103 |
|Exercise of common stock options||657 ||— ||7,387 ||— ||7,387 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||661 ||— ||(9,768)||— ||(9,768)|
|Issuance of common stock under employee stock purchase plan||946 ||— ||25,547 ||— ||25,547 |
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||126,635 ||— ||126,635 |
|Net loss||— ||— ||— ||(19,073)||(19,073)|
|Balance as of June 30, 2022||488,290 ||— ||1,201,373 ||578,458 ||1,779,831 |
|Exercise of common stock options||918 ||— ||10,917 ||— ||10,917 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||246 ||— ||(14,058)||— ||(14,058)|
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||121,729 ||— ||121,729 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||15,869 ||15,869 |
|Balance as of September 30, 2022||489,454 ||$||— ||$||1,319,961 ||$||594,327 ||$||1,914,288 |
|Balance as of December 31, 2022||490,468 ||$||— ||$||1,449,825 ||$||665,514 ||$||2,115,339 |
|Exercise of common stock options||2,451 ||— ||10,365 ||— ||10,365 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||414 ||— ||(15,595)||— ||(15,595)|
|Repurchases of Class A common stock||(5,139)||— ||— ||(292,863)||(292,863)|
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||114,235 ||— ||114,235 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||9,326 ||9,326 |
|Balance as of March 31, 2023||488,194 ||— ||1,558,830 ||381,977 ||1,940,807 |
|Exercise of common stock options||1,074 ||— ||17,407 ||— ||17,407 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||879 ||— ||(15,459)||— ||(15,459)|
|Issuance of common stock under employee stock purchase plan||497 ||— ||21,316 ||— ||21,316 |
|Repurchases of Class A common stock||(595)||— ||— ||(44,004)||(44,004)|
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||118,404 ||— ||118,404 |
|Net income||— ||— ||— ||32,939 ||32,939 |
|Balance as of June 30, 2023||490,049 ||— ||1,700,498 ||370,912 ||2,071,410 |
|Exercise of common stock options||889 ||— ||17,591 ||17,591 |
|Issuance of restricted stock, net of forfeitures and shares withheld for taxes||500 ||— ||(24,343)||(24,343)|
|Repurchases of Class A common stock||(1,194)||— ||— ||(89,845)||(89,845)|
|Stock-based compensation||— ||— ||141,361 ||141,361 |
|Net income||— ||— ||39,352 ||39,352 |
|Balance as of September 30, 2023||490,244 ||$||— ||$||1,835,107 ||$||320,419 ||$||2,155,526 |
The accompanying Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
|Nine Months Ended September 30,|
|Net income (loss)||$||81,617 ||$||(17,802)|
|Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by operating activities:|| || |
|Depreciation and amortization||59,889 ||37,581 |
|Stock-based compensation||370,186 ||371,111 |
|Noncash lease expense||36,672 ||32,554 |
|Allowance for credit losses on accounts receivable||1,811 ||2,961 |
|Deferred income taxes||— ||604 |
|Changes in operating assets and liabilities:|| || |
|Accounts receivable||(130,650)||24,905 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current and non-current assets||(11,370)||42,913 |
|Accounts payable||125,661 ||(68,758)|
|Accrued expenses and other current and non-current liabilities||18,439 ||(18,778)|
|Operating lease liabilities||(36,741)||(35,731)|
Net cash provided by operating activities
|507,202 ||375,254 |
|INVESTING ACTIVITIES:|| || |
|Purchases of investments||(448,251)||(379,206)|
|Sales of investments||— ||1,977 |
|Maturities of investments||425,400 ||252,699 |
|Purchases of property and equipment||(21,594)||(36,394)|
|Capitalized software development costs||(6,097)||(4,833)|
Net cash used in investing activities
|FINANCING ACTIVITIES:|| || |
|Repurchases of Class A common stock||(426,684)||— |
|Proceeds from exercise of stock options||45,363 ||42,712 |
|Proceeds from employee stock purchase plan||21,316 ||25,547 |
|Taxes paid related to net settlement of restricted stock awards||(55,397)||(37,254)|
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
Increase in cash and cash equivalents
|41,258 ||240,502 |
|Cash and cash equivalents—Beginning of period||1,030,506 ||754,154 |
|Cash and cash equivalents—End of period||$||1,071,764 ||$||994,656 |
|SUPPLEMENTAL CASH FLOW INFORMATION:|| || |
|Cash paid for operating lease liabilities||$||44,836 ||$||42,921 |
|Operating lease assets obtained in exchange for operating lease liabilities||$||25,781 ||$||28,729 |
|Capitalized assets financed by accounts payable||$||5,938 ||$||29,577 |
|Tenant improvements paid by lessor||$||— ||$||425 |
|Asset retirement obligation||$||917 ||$||438 |
|Stock-based compensation included in capitalized software development costs||$||3,814 ||$||2,668 |
The accompanying Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements are an integral part of these statements.
THE TRADE DESK, INC.
NOTES TO CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Note 1—Nature of Operations
The Trade Desk, Inc. (the “Company”) is a global technology company that empowers buyers of advertising. Through the Company’s self-service, cloud-based platform, ad buyers can create, manage and optimize more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns across ad formats and channels, including video (which includes connected TV (“CTV”)), display, audio, digital-out-of-home, native and social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, televisions and streaming devices. The Company’s platform integrations with major inventory, publisher and data partners provide ad buyers reach and decisioning capabilities, and the Company’s enterprise application programming interfaces (“APIs”) enable its clients to develop on top of the platform.
The Company is a Delaware corporation formed in November 2009 and headquartered in Ventura, California with offices in various cities in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Note 2—Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements were prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”) for interim financial information and are unaudited. Certain information and disclosures normally included in consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP have been condensed or omitted. The condensed consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2022 was derived from audited financial statements but does not include all disclosures required by GAAP. Accordingly, these condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the Company’s audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.
There have been no material changes to the Company’s accounting policies from those disclosed in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, and these unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared on a basis consistent with that used to prepare the Company’s audited annual consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2022, and include, in the opinion of management, all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring items, necessary for the fair statement of the condensed consolidated financial statements.
The results of operations for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 are not necessarily indicative of the results expected for the full year ending December 31, 2023.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of condensed consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the condensed consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ materially from these estimates.
Management regularly evaluates its estimates, primarily those related to: (1) revenue recognition criteria, including the determination of revenue reporting as net versus gross in the Company’s revenue arrangements, (2) allowances for credit losses, (3) operating lease assets and liabilities, including the Company’s incremental borrowing rate and terms and provisions of each lease, (4) the useful lives of property and equipment and capitalized software development costs, (5) income taxes, (6) assumptions used in the option pricing models to determine the fair value of stock-based compensation and (7) the recognition and disclosure of contingent liabilities. These estimates are based on historical data and experience, as well as various other factors that management believes to be reasonable under the circumstances, the results of which form the basis for making judgments about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources.
As of September 30, 2023, the impacts to the Company’s business due to geopolitical developments and macroeconomic factors, such as rising interest rates, inflation, changes in foreign currency exchange rates and supply chain disruptions, continue to evolve. As a result, many of the Company’s estimates and assumptions, including the allowance for credit losses, consider macroeconomic factors in the market, which require increased judgment and carry a higher degree of variability and volatility. As events continue to evolve and additional information becomes available, the Company’s estimates may change materially in future periods.
Note 3—Earnings Per Share
The Company has two classes of common stock, Class A and Class B. Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share attributable to common stockholders for Class A and Class B common stock were the same because they were entitled to the same liquidation and dividend rights.
The computation of basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share is as follows (in thousands, except per share amounts):
|Three Months Ended|
|Nine Months Ended|
|Net income (loss)||$||39,352 ||$||15,869 ||$||81,617 ||$||(17,802)|
|Weighted-average shares outstanding—basic||489,447 ||487,963 ||489,195 ||486,168 |
|Effect of dilutive securities||12,433 ||12,337 ||11,153 ||— |
|Weighted-average shares outstanding—diluted||501,880 ||500,300 ||500,348 ||486,168 |
|Basic earnings (loss) per share||$||0.08 ||$||0.03 ||$||0.17 ||$||(0.04)|
|Diluted earnings (loss) per share||$||0.08 ||$||0.03 ||$||0.16 ||$||(0.04)|
|Anti-dilutive equity awards under stock-based award plans excluded from the determination of diluted earnings (loss) per share||4,916 ||7,823 ||4,916 ||— |
* Diluted loss per share attributable to the Company for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 excluded all potentially dilutive securities because there was a net loss for the period ended and the inclusion of these securities would have been anti-dilutive. Potentially dilutive securities excluded from the calculation of diluted loss per share were 28 million shares under stock-based award plans for the nine months ended September 30, 2022.
Note 4—Cash, Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments, Net
Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments in marketable securities were as follows (in thousands):
As of September 30, 2023
|Cash and |
|Cash||$||264,896 ||$||— ||$||264,896 |
|Level 1:|| || || |
|Money market funds||778,950 ||— ||778,950 |
|Level 2:|| || || |
|Commercial paper||24,048 ||154,761 ||178,809 |
|Corporate debt securities||3,870 ||157,798 ||161,668 |
|U.S. government and agency securities||— ||137,558 ||137,558 |
|Total||$||1,071,764 ||$||450,117 ||$||1,521,881 |
As of December 31, 2022
|Cash and |
|Cash||$||339,717 ||$||— ||$||339,717 |
|Level 1:|| || |
|Money market funds||640,233 ||— ||640,233 |
|Level 2:|| || |
|Commercial paper||50,556 ||126,507 ||177,063 |
|Corporate debt securities||— ||180,502 ||180,502 |
|U.S. government and agency securities||— ||109,071 ||109,071 |
|Total||$||1,030,506 ||$||416,080 ||$||1,446,586 |
The Company’s gross unrealized gains or losses from its short-term investments, recorded at fair value, for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, were immaterial.
The contractual maturities of the Company’s short-term investments are as follows (in thousands):
|September 30, 2023|
|Due in one year||$||415,714 |
|Due in one to two years||34,403 |
The components of lease expense recorded in the condensed consolidated statements of operations were as follows (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Nine Months Ended|
|Operating lease cost||$||12,532 ||$||13,139 ||$||36,588 ||$||38,415 |
|Short-term lease cost||493 ||345 ||1,407 ||1,296 |
|Variable lease cost||3,253 ||2,064 ||9,207 ||6,478 |
|Total lease cost||$||15,659 ||$||14,913 ||$||45,433 ||$||44,307 |
On June 15, 2021, the Company and a syndicate of banks, led by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as agent, entered into a Loan and Security Agreement (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Facility consists of a $450 million revolving loan facility, with a $20 million sublimit for swingline borrowings and a $15 million sublimit for the issuance of letters of credit. Under certain circumstances, the Company has the right to increase the Credit Facility by an amount not to exceed $300 million. The Credit Facility is collateralized by substantially all of the Company’s assets, including a pledge of certain of its accounts receivable, deposit accounts, intellectual property, investment property and equipment.
On December 17, 2021, the Company amended the Credit Facility to expand the process for issuing letters of credit and the related invoicing, particularly with respect to letters of credit not denominated in U.S. Dollars. On February 9, 2023, the Company further amended its Credit Facility (as amended, the “Amended Credit Facility”) to transition from a variable interest rate based on the London Interbank Offered Rate to a variable interest rate based on the secured overnight financing rate (“SOFR”).
Loans under the Amended Credit Facility bear interest at a rate equal to, at the Company’s option, an annual rate of either a Base Rate or an adjusted term SOFR rate (defined as SOFR for a specified term plus a credit spread adjustment of 10 basis points, subject to a 0% floor), plus an applicable margin (“Base Rate Borrowings” and “Term SOFR Borrowings”). The Base Rate is defined as a rate per annum for any day equal to the greatest of (1) the rate of interest last quoted by The Wall Street Journal as the “Prime Rate” in the United States, (2) the New York Federal Reserve Bank Rate in effect on such day plus half of 1%, and (3) the adjusted term SOFR rate for a one-month interest period on such day plus 1%. The applicable margin is between 0.25% to 1.25% for Base Rate Borrowings and between 1.25% and 2.25% for Term SOFR Rate Borrowings based on the Company maintaining certain leverage ratios. The fee for undrawn amounts under the Amended Credit Facility ranges, based on the applicable leverage, from 0.200% to 0.350%. The Company is also required to pay customary letter of credit fees, as necessary.
As of September 30, 2023, the Company did not have an outstanding debt balance under the Amended Credit Facility. Availability under the Amended Credit Facility was $445 million as of September 30, 2023, which is net of outstanding letters of credit of $5 million. The Amended Credit Facility matures, and all outstanding amounts become due and payable, on June 15, 2026.
The Amended Credit Facility contains customary conditions to borrowings, events of default and covenants, including covenants that restrict the Company’s ability to sell assets, make changes to the nature of the Company’s business, engage in mergers or acquisitions, incur, assume or permit to exist additional indebtedness and guarantees, create or permit to exist liens, pay dividends, issue equity instruments, make distributions or redeem or repurchase capital stock or make other investments, engage in transactions with affiliates and make payments in respect of subordinated debt. The Amended Credit Facility also requires the Company to maintain compliance with a maximum ratio of consolidated funded debt to consolidated EBITDA of 3.50 to 1.00. As of September 30, 2023, the Company was in compliance with all covenants.
Share Repurchase Program
In February 2023, the Company’s board of directors approved a share repurchase program with authorization to purchase up to $700 million of its Class A common stock. The share repurchase program, which has no expiration date, is designed to help offset the impact of future share dilution from employee stock issuances. Repurchases under the program may be made in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, with the amount and timing of repurchases to be determined at the Company’s discretion, depending on market conditions and corporate needs. Open market repurchases are structured to occur in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including within the pricing and volume requirements of Rule 10b-18 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The Company may also, from time to time, enter into Rule 10b5-1 plans to facilitate repurchases of its shares under this authorization. This program does not obligate the Company to acquire any particular amount of Class A common stock, and may be modified, suspended or terminated at any time at the discretion of the Company’s board of directors.
During the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023, the Company repurchased and subsequently retired 1.2 million shares and 6.9 million shares, respectively, of its Class A common stock for aggregate repurchase amounts of $90 million and $427 million, respectively. The repurchase amounts for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 included immaterial amounts related to the 1% excise tax on net share repurchases as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”). As of September 30, 2023, $273 million remained available and authorized for repurchases. Activity under the share repurchase program was recognized in the condensed consolidated financial statements on a trade-date basis.
Note 8—Stock-Based Compensation
Stock-Based Compensation Expense
Stock-based compensation expense recorded in the condensed consolidated statements of operations was as follows (in thousands):
|Three Months Ended|
|Nine Months Ended|
|Platform operations||$||5,729 ||$||3,517 ||$||14,642 ||$||14,254 |
|Sales and marketing||21,116 ||14,861 ||54,039 ||48,718 |
|Technology and development||43,727 ||22,641 ||91,283 ||67,258 |
|General and administrative||69,061 ||79,984 ||210,222 ||240,881 |
|Total||$||139,633 ||$||121,003 ||$||370,186 ||$||371,111 |
On September 30, 2023, David R. Pickles stepped down as the Company’s Chief Technology Officer and from the Company’s board of directors. As a result, Mr. Pickles and the Company mutually agreed to cancel his unvested stock options and restricted stock without payment or replacement, resulting in the recognition of $14 million in incremental stock-based compensation expense, which is included in technology and development expense for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023. No amount of stock-based compensation expense for these cancelled options and restricted stock remains unamortized.
The following summarizes stock option activity:
Outstanding as of December 31, 2022
Outstanding as of September 30, 2023
Exercisable as of September 30, 2023
At September 30, 2023, the Company had unrecognized stock-based compensation relating to stock options, excluding the CEO Performance Option (as defined below), of approximately $132 million, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 2.9 years.
CEO Performance Option
In October 2021, the Company granted a market-based performance award to the Company’s Chief Executive Officer (the “CEO Performance Option”) under the Company’s 2016 Incentive Award Plan. The CEO Performance Option has an exercise price of $68.29 per share. At December 31, 2022, the CEO Performance Option had 19.2 million options outstanding. No options were granted, exercised, forfeited or expired during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023. At September 30, 2023, the CEO Performance Option had 2.4 million exercisable options and 19.2 million options outstanding. Stock-based compensation of $48 million and $66 million for the CEO Performance Option was recorded as a component of general and administrative expense during the three months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. Stock-based compensation of $156 million and $197 million for the CEO Performance Option was recorded as a component of general and administrative expense during the nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. At September 30, 2023, the Company had unrecognized stock-based compensation relating to the CEO Performance Option of $243 million that is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 1.8 years, assuming no acceleration of vesting.
The following summarizes restricted stock activity:
Unvested as of December 31, 2022
|8,747 ||$||57.41 |
|Granted||6,404 ||62.69 |
Unvested as of September 30, 2023
|11,588 ||$||60.84 |
At September 30, 2023, the Company had unrecognized stock-based compensation relating to restricted stock of approximately $652 million, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 3.0 years.
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (“ESPP”)
Stock-based compensation expense related to the ESPP totaled $7 million and $4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. Stock-based compensation expense related to the ESPP totaled $15 million and $46 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively. At September 30, 2023, the Company had unrecognized stock-based compensation relating to ESPP awards of approximately $15 million, which is expected to be recognized over a weighted-average period of 0.7 years.
Note 9—Income Taxes
In determining the interim provision for income taxes for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023, the Company utilized the annual estimated effective tax rate applied to the actual year-to-date income and added the tax effects of any discrete items in the reporting period in which they occur. In determining the interim provision for income taxes for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, the Company utilized the discrete effective tax rate method, as allowed by Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 740-270-30-18, “Income Taxes – Interim Reporting.” The discrete method is applied when the application of the estimated annual effective tax rate is impractical because it is not possible to reliably estimate the annual effective tax rate. The discrete method treats the year-to-date period as if it were the annual period and determines the income tax expense or benefit on that basis.
For the three months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, the provision for income taxes included benefits associated with stock-based awards of $9 million and $11 million, respectively. For the nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, the provision for income taxes included benefits associated with stock-based awards of $45 million and $42 million, respectively.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, the Company’s effective tax rate differed from the United States federal statutory tax rate of 21% primarily due to nondeductible stock-based compensation, the impact of tax benefits associated with stock-based awards, state and foreign taxes and research and development tax credits.
There were no material changes to the Company’s unrecognized tax benefits during the nine months ended September 30, 2023, and the Company does not expect to have any significant changes to unrecognized tax benefits through the end of the fiscal year.
Note 10—Segment and Geographic Information
The Company has one primary business activity and operates in one reportable and operating segment.
The Company reports revenue net of amounts it pays suppliers for the cost of advertising inventory, third-party data and other add-on features (collectively, “Supplier Features”). The Company generally bills clients based on the gross amount of Supplier Features they purchase through its platform and the platform fees (“Gross Billings”), net of allowances. The Company’s accounts receivable are recorded at the amount of Gross Billings for the amounts it is responsible to
collect, and accounts payable are recorded at the net amount payable to suppliers. Accordingly, both accounts receivable and accounts payable appear large in relation to revenue reported on a net basis.
Gross Billings, based on the address of the clients or client affiliates, set forth as a percentage of total Gross Billings, were as follows:
|Three Months Ended|
|Nine Months Ended|
|United States||87 ||%||89 ||%||88 ||%||88 ||%|
|International||13 ||%||11 ||%||12 ||%||12 ||%|
|Total||100 ||%||100 ||%||100 ||%||100 ||%|
Note 11— Commitments and Contingencies
Guarantees and Indemnification
In the ordinary course of business, the Company may provide indemnifications of varying scope and terms to clients, vendors, lessors, business partners and other parties with respect to certain matters, including, but not limited to, losses arising out of breach of such agreements, services to be provided by the Company or from intellectual property infringement claims made by third parties. In addition, the Company has entered into indemnification agreements with directors and certain officers and employees that will require the Company, among other things, to indemnify them against certain liabilities that may arise by reason of their status or service as directors, officers or employees. No demands have been made upon the Company to provide indemnification under such agreements, and thus, there are no claims that the Company is aware of that could have a material effect on the Company’s balance sheet, statement of operations or statement of cash flows. Accordingly, no amounts for any obligation have been recorded at September 30, 2023 and 2022.
From time to time, the Company is subject to various legal proceedings, litigation and claims, either asserted or unasserted, that arise in the ordinary course of business. Although the outcome of the various legal proceedings, litigation and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, management does not believe that any of these proceedings or other claims will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on the Company because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
On May 27, 2022, a stockholder of the Company filed a derivative lawsuit captioned Huizenga v. Green, et al., No. 2022-0461, asserting claims on behalf of the Company against certain members of the Company’s board of directors in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware. On June 27, 2022, a second derivative lawsuit captioned Pfeiffer v. Green, et al., No. 2022-0560 was filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware alleging substantially similar claims. Those lawsuits were consolidated on August 18, 2022, and a lead plaintiff was appointed on October 7, 2022. The two complaints allege generally that the Defendants breached their fiduciary duties to the Company and its stockholders in connection with the negotiation and approval of the CEO Performance Option. The plaintiffs seek a court order rescinding the CEO Performance Option and monetary damages. On November 10, 2022, the plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint, and on January 12, 2023, the Defendants moved to dismiss the consolidated complaint. On March 24, 2023, plaintiffs filed an opposition to defendants’ motions to dismiss. Defendants filed their replies in support of their motions to dismiss on May 19, 2023, and oral argument is scheduled for February 7, 2024.
Litigation is inherently uncertain and there can be no assurance regarding the likelihood that the motions to dismiss or defense of the various actions will be successful.
The Company has entered into agreements with severance terms with certain employees and officers, all of whom are employed on an at-will basis, subject to certain severance obligations in the event of certain involuntary terminations. The Company may be required to accelerate the vesting of certain stock options in the event of changes in control, as defined, and involuntary terminations.
Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Forward-looking statements generally relate to future events or our future financial or operating performance and may include statements concerning, among other things, our business strategy (including anticipated trends and developments in, and management plans for, our business and the markets in which we operate), financial results, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other macroeconomic factors on our business, operations, and the markets and communities in which we, our clients, and partners operate, results of operations, revenues, operating expenses, share repurchases and capital expenditures, sales and marketing initiatives and competition. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements because they contain words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “could,” “intends,” “target,” “projects,” “contemplates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “suggests,” “potential” or “continue” or the negative of these words or other similar terms or expressions that concern our expectations, strategy, plans or intentions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance; they reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from expectations or results projected or implied by forward-looking statements.
We discuss many of these risks in Part II of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q in greater detail under the heading “Risk Factors” and in other filings we make from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Also, these forward-looking statements represent our estimates and assumptions only as of the date of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, which are inherently subject to change and involve risks and uncertainties. Unless required by federal securities laws, we assume no obligation to update any of these forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated, to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the statements are made. Given these uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
Investors should read this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and the documents that we reference in this report and have filed with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.
References to “Notes” are notes included in our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
We offer a self-service, cloud-based ad-buying platform that empowers our clients to plan, manage, optimize and measure more expressive data-driven digital advertising campaigns. Our platform allows clients to execute integrated campaigns across ad formats and channels, including video (which includes CTV), display, audio, digital-out-of-home, native and social, on a multitude of devices, such as computers, mobile devices, televisions and streaming devices. Our platform’s integrations with major inventory, publisher and data partners provide ad buyers reach and decisioning capabilities, and our enterprise application programming interfaces enable our clients to customize and expand platform functionality.
Our clients are advertising agencies, brands and other service providers for advertisers, with whom we enter into ongoing master service agreements (“MSAs”). We generate revenue by charging our clients a platform fee based on a percentage of a client’s total spend on advertising. We also generate revenue from providing data and other value-added services and platform features.
|Three Months Ended September 30,||Nine Months Ended September 30,|
|(in thousands, except percentages)||(in thousands, except percentages)|
|Revenue||$||493,266 ||$||394,773 ||$||98,493 ||25 ||%||$||1,340,323 ||$||1,087,058 ||$||253,265 ||23 ||%|
|Net income (loss)||$||39,352 ||$||15,869 ||$||23,483 ||148 ||%||$||81,617 ||$||(17,802)||$||99,419 ||NM|
NM: Not meaningful.
Trends, Opportunities and Challenges
The growing digitization of media and fragmentation of audiences has increased the complexity of advertising and thereby increased the need for automation in ad buying, which we provide on our platform. In order to grow, we will need to continue to develop our platform’s programmatic capabilities and advertising inventory. We believe that key opportunities include our ongoing global expansion, continuing development of our video (including CTV), audio and native ad inventory, and continuing development of the data usage, measurement and targeting capabilities provided by our platform.
We believe that growth of the programmatic advertising market is important for our ability to grow our business. Adoption of programmatic advertising by advertisers allows us to acquire new clients and grow revenue from existing clients. Although our clients include some of the largest advertising agencies in the world, we believe there is significant room for us to expand further within these clients and gain a larger amount of their advertising spend through our platform. We also believe that the industry trends noted above will lead to advertisers adopting programmatic advertising through platforms such as ours.
Similarly, the adoption of programmatic advertising by inventory owners and content providers allows us to expand the volume and type of advertising inventory that we present to our clients. For example, we have expanded our CTV, native and audio advertising offerings through our integrations with supply-side partners.
We invest for long-term growth. We anticipate that our operating expenses will continue to increase significantly in the foreseeable future as we invest in platform operations and technology and development to enhance our product features, including programmatic buying of CTV ad inventory, and in sales and marketing to acquire new clients and reinforce our relationships with existing clients. In addition, we expect to continue making investments in our infrastructure, including our information technology, financial and administrative systems and controls, to support our growing operations.
We believe the markets outside of the United States, and in particular across Europe and Asia in markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, Japan, India and Australia, offer opportunities for growth. However, such markets may also pose challenges related to compliance with local laws and regulations, restrictions on foreign ownership or investment, uncertainty related to trade relations and a variety of additional risks. We intend to make additional investments in sales and marketing and product development to expand in international markets where we are making significant investments in our platform and growing our team.
We believe that these investments will contribute to our long-term growth, although they may negatively impact profitability in the near term.
Our business model has allowed us to grow significantly, and we believe that our operating leverage enables us to support future growth profitably.
Macroeconomic Uncertainty and COVID-19
Rising interest rates, inflation, changes in foreign currency exchange rates and geopolitical developments, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, including the emergence of variants and subvariants, have resulted, and may continue to result, in a global slowdown of economic activity, which may decrease demand for a broad variety of goods and services, including those provided by our clients, while also disrupting supply channels, sales channels and advertising and marketing activities for an unknown period of time until economic activity normalizes. As a result of the current uncertainty in economic activity, we are unable to predict the size and duration of the impact on our revenue and our results of operations. The extent of the impact of these macroeconomic factors on our operational and financial performance will depend on a variety of factors, and the duration and extent of geopolitical and global economic disruption and their respective impacts on our clients, partners, industry and employees, all of which are uncertain at this time and cannot be accurately predicted. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in Part II. Other Information for further discussion of the adverse impacts of the macroeconomic factors on our business.
During the second half of 2022, many of our employees adopted a hybrid work schedule consisting of both in-person work and working from home, primarily beginning in September 2022. Additionally, we resumed travel and in-person events in accordance with applicable regional guidance, resulting in an increase in operating expenses in 2023 compared to 2022, before most travel and in-person events resumed.
Results of Operations for the Three and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2023 Compared with the Three and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2022
The following tables set forth our condensed consolidated results of operations for the periods presented.
|Three Months Ended September 30,|
|(in thousands)||(% of Revenue)||(in thousands)||(% of Revenue)|
|Revenue||$||493,266 ||100 ||%||$||394,773 ||100 ||%|
|Platform operations||93,382 ||19 ||%||70,124 ||18 ||%|
|Sales and marketing||112,466 ||23 ||%||85,038 ||22 ||%|
|Technology and development||117,772 ||24 ||%||79,915 ||20 ||%|
|General and administrative||131,969 ||27 ||%||130,892 ||33 ||%|
|Total operating expenses||455,589 ||92 ||%||365,969 ||93 ||%|
|Income from operations||37,677 ||8 ||%||28,804 ||7 ||%|
|Total other income, net||(19,323)||(4)||%||(1,698)||— ||%|
|Income before income taxes||57,000 ||12 ||%||30,502 ||8 ||%|
|Provision for income taxes||17,648 ||4 ||%||14,633 ||4 ||%|
|Net income||$||39,352 ||8 ||%||$||15,869 ||4 ||%|
|Nine Months Ended September 30,|
|(in thousands)||(% of Revenue)||(in thousands)||(% of Revenue)|
|Revenue||$||1,340,323 ||100 ||%||$||1,087,058 ||100 ||%|
|Platform operations||264,903 ||20 ||%||201,504 ||19 ||%|
|Sales and marketing||321,177 ||24 ||%||245,146 ||23 ||%|
|Technology and development||309,790 ||23 ||%||235,397 ||22 ||%|
|General and administrative||388,411 ||29 ||%||391,517 ||36 ||%|
|Total operating expenses||1,284,281 ||96 ||%||1,073,564 ||99 ||%|
|Income from operations||56,042 ||4 ||%||13,494 ||1 ||%|
|Total other income, net||(51,277)||(4)||%||(1,756)||— ||%|
|Income before income taxes||107,319 ||8 ||%||15,250 ||1 ||%|
|Provision for income taxes||25,702 ||2 ||%||33,052 ||3 ||%|
|Net income (loss)||$||81,617 ||6 ||%||$||(17,802)||(2)||%|
Note: Percentages may not sum due to rounding.
Revenue increased by $98 million, or 25%, and $253 million, or 23%, for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, respectively. The increase was primarily due to higher gross spend in the current year on our platform, which was primarily driven by more advertisers and more campaigns executed by existing clients.
Platform operations expense increased by $23 million, or 33%, for the three months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to increases of $15 million in hosting costs and $7 million in personnel costs, which included a $2 million increase in stock-based compensation. The increase in hosting costs was primarily attributable to support related to the increased use of our platform by our clients and
by investment in new data centers to support our platform. The increase in personnel costs was primarily due to headcount growth. The increase in stock-based compensation was primarily due to new equity grants.
Platform operations expense increased by $63 million, or 31%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to increases of $42 million in hosting costs and $17 million in personnel costs. The increase in hosting costs was primarily attributable to support related to the increased use of our platform by our clients and by investment in new data centers to support our platform. The increase in personnel costs was primarily due to headcount growth as well as return-to-office, travel and employee engagement costs, including in-person events impacted by headcount growth.
We expect platform operations expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods as we continue to experience increased volumes of media impressions through our platform and hire additional personnel to support our growth.
Sales and Marketing
Sales and marketing expense increased by $27 million, or 32%, for the three months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $22 million in personnel costs, which included a $6 million increase in stock-based compensation, a $3 million increase in marketing costs and a $2 million increase in allocated facilities costs. The increase in personnel costs was primarily due to headcount growth to support our sales efforts and to continue to develop and maintain relationships with our clients; an increase in incentive compensation driven by headcount growth and gross spend growth; and return-to-office and travel. The increase in stock-based compensation was primarily due to new equity grants. The increase in marketing costs was primarily due to an increase in marketing campaigns, events, sponsorships and client engagement. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses.
Sales and marketing expense increased by $76 million, or 31%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $64 million in personnel costs, which included a $5 million increase in stock-based compensation, a $7 million increase in marketing costs and a $5 million increase in allocated facilities costs. The increase in personnel costs was primarily due to headcount growth to support our sales efforts and to continue to develop and maintain relationships with our clients; higher incentive compensation driven by headcount growth and gross spend growth; and return-to-office, travel and employee engagement costs, including in-person events impacted by headcount growth. The increase in marketing costs was primarily due to an increase in marketing campaigns, events, sponsorships and client engagement. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses. The increase in stock-based compensation was primarily due to new equity grants, partially offset by the impact of stock price volatility on ESPP expense.
We expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods, as we focus on increasing the adoption of our platform with existing and new clients and expanding our international business.
Technology and Development
Technology and development expense increased by $38 million, or 47%, for the three months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $35 million in personnel costs, which included a $21 million increase in stock-based compensation, and a $3 million increase in allocated facilities costs. The increase in personnel costs was primarily attributable to headcount growth to maintain and support further development of our platform, as well as return-to-office and travel. The increase in stock-based compensation was due to $14 million from the cancellation of unvested equity awards in connection with David R. Pickles stepping down from his role as our former Chief Technology Officer (“CTO”), as well as new equity grants to other grantees. Refer to Note 8—Stock-Based Compensation for further detail. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses.
Technology and development expense increased by $74 million, or 32%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to an increase of $68 million in personnel costs, which included a $24 million increase in stock-based compensation, and a $6 million increase in allocated facilities costs. The increase in personnel costs was primarily attributable to headcount growth to maintain and support further development of our platform, as well as return-to-office, travel and employee engagement costs, including
in-person events impacted by headcount growth. The increase in stock-based compensation was due to new equity grants, partially offset by the impact of stock price volatility on ESPP expense. The increase in stock-based compensation expense also included $14 million from the cancellation of unvested equity awards in connection with the stepping down of our former CTO. Refer to Note 8—Stock-Based Compensation for further detail. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses.
We expect technology and development expense to increase in absolute dollars as we continue to invest in the development of our platform to support additional features and functions, increase the number of advertising and data inventory suppliers and support the increase in volume of advertising spending by our customers on our platform. We also intend to invest in technology to further automate our business processes.
General and Administrative
General and administrative expense increased by $1 million, or 1%, for the three months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2022, primarily due to increases of $7 million in personnel costs, $4 million in administrative costs and $1 million in allocated facilities costs, partially offset by an $11 million decrease in stock-based compensation. The increase in personnel costs was primarily attributable to increased headcount to support our growth, an increase in bonus costs driven by revenue growth and an increase in return-to-office and travel costs. The increase in administrative costs was primarily driven by an increase in external professional fees. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses. The decrease in stock-based compensation was primarily driven by an $18 million decrease in expense related to the CEO Performance Option driven by the graded-vesting attribution method, under which more expense is recognized earlier in the option’s life, partially offset by a $7 million increase in expense related to new equity grants.
General and administrative expense decreased by $3 million, or 1%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022, primarily due to a $31 million decrease in stock-based compensation, partially offset by increases of $26 million in personnel costs and $2 million in allocated facilities costs. The decrease in stock-based compensation was primarily driven by a $41 million decrease in expense related to the CEO Performance Option driven by the graded-vesting attribution method, under which more expense is recognized earlier in the option’s life, as well as a $6 million decrease in ESPP expense driven by the impact of stock price volatility, partially offset by a $16 million increase in expense related to new equity grants. The increase in personnel costs was primarily attributable to increased headcount to support our growth, an increase in bonus costs driven by revenue growth, and an increase in return-to-office, travel and employee engagement costs, including in-person events impacted by headcount growth. The increase in allocated facilities costs was primarily driven by new leases for additional office space to support our future growth as well as return-to-office support expenses.
Excluding the impact of the CEO Performance Option, we expect general and administrative expenses to increase primarily due to continued investment in corporate infrastructure to support growth.
Total Other Income, Net
Total other income, net increased by $18 million and $50 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023, respectively, as compared to total other income, net for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022, respectively. The increase was primarily due to higher interest income on our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments driven by rising interest rates.
Provision for Income Taxes
The U.S. federal statutory tax rate was 21% for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
The provision for income taxes increased by $3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2022. The increase was primarily due to higher pre-tax profitability, partially offset by a lower impact attributable to nondeductible stock-based compensation.
The provision for income taxes decreased by $7 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2023, as compared to the nine months ended September 30, 2022. The decrease was primarily due to a lower impact attributable to nondeductible stock-based compensation coupled with higher tax benefits associated with employee stock-based awards.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As of September 30, 2023, we had working capital of $1,867 million, which included $1,072 million in cash and cash equivalents, $82 million of which was held by our international subsidiaries, and $450 million in short-term investments in marketable securities. Additionally, we had $445 million available under our Amended Credit Facility (refer to the “Credit Facility” section below). For the nine months ended September 30, 2023, we generated $507 million in cash flows from operating activities.
We believe our existing cash and cash equivalents, cash flow from operations, and our undrawn available balance under our Amended Credit Facility will be sufficient to meet our working capital requirements for at least the next 12 months. We believe our existing cash and cash equivalents, short-term investments and cash flow from operations will be sufficient to fund our share repurchase program. Further, we have a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 on file with the SEC (the “Shelf Registration”), which permits us to issue equity securities and equity-linked securities from time to time, subject to certain limitations. The Shelf Registration is intended to provide us with additional flexibility to access capital markets for general corporate purposes, subject to market conditions and our capital needs. Our future capital requirements and the adequacy of available funds will depend on many factors, including those set forth in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” within this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.
In the future, we may attempt to raise additional capital through the sale of equity securities or through equity-linked or debt-financing arrangements. If we raise additional funds by issuing equity or equity-linked securities, the ownership of our existing stockholders will be diluted. If we raise additional financing by incurring additional indebtedness, we may be subject to increased fixed payment obligations and could also be subject to additional restrictive covenants, such as limitations on our ability to incur additional debt, and other operating restrictions that could adversely impact our ability to conduct our business. Any future indebtedness we incur may result in terms that could be unfavorable to equity investors.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to raise additional capital. The inability to raise capital would adversely affect our ability to achieve our business objectives. In addition, if our operating performance during the next 12 months is below our expectations, our liquidity and ability to operate our business could be adversely affected. We are closely monitoring the effect that current macroeconomic factors may have on our working capital requirements.
On June 15, 2021, we and a syndicate of banks, led by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as agent, entered into a Loan and Security Agreement (the “Credit Facility”). The Credit Facility consists of a $450 million revolving loan facility, with a $20 million sublimit for swingline borrowings and a $15 million sublimit for the issuance of letters of credit. Under certain circumstances, we have the right to increase the Credit Facility by an amount not to exceed $300 million.
On December 17, 2021, we amended the Credit Facility to expand the process for issuing letters of credit and the related invoicing, particularly with respect to letters of credit not denominated in U.S. Dollars. On February 9, 2023, we further amended the Credit Facility (as amended, the “Amended Credit Facility”) to transition from a variable interest rate based on the London Interbank Offered Rate to a variable interest rate based on the secured overnight financing rate (“SOFR”).
As of September 30, 2023, we did not have an outstanding debt balance under the Amended Credit Facility. Availability under the Amended Credit Facility was $445 million as of September 30, 2023, which is net of outstanding letters of credit of $5 million. The Amended Credit Facility matures, and all outstanding amounts become due and payable, on June 15, 2026. As of September 30, 2023, we were in compliance with all covenants.
For additional information regarding the Amended Credit Facility, refer to Note 6—Debt.
Share Repurchase Program
In February 2023, our board of directors approved a share repurchase program with authorization to purchase up to $700 million of our Class A common stock. The share repurchase program, which has no expiration date, is designed to help offset the impact of future share dilution from employee stock issuances. Repurchases under the program may be made in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, with the amount and timing of repurchases determined at our discretion, depending on market conditions and corporate needs. Open market repurchases are structured to occur in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including within the pricing and volume requirements of Rule 10b-18 under the Exchange Act. We may also, from time to time, enter into Rule 10b5-1 plans to facilitate repurchases of shares under this authorization. This program does not obligate us to acquire any particular amount of Class A common stock, and may be modified, suspended or terminated at any time at the discretion of our board of directors.
During the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023, we repurchased and subsequently retired 1.2 million shares and 6.9 million shares, respectively, of our Class A common stock for aggregate repurchase amounts of $90 million and $427 million, respectively. The repurchase amounts for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2023 included immaterial amounts related to the 1% excise tax on net share repurchases as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”). As of September 30, 2023, $273 million remained available and authorized for repurchases.
The following table summarizes our cash flows for the periods presented:
|Nine Months Ended September 30,|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||507,202 ||$||375,254 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||$||(50,542)||$||(165,757)|
|Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities||$||(415,402)||$||31,005 |
Our cash flows from operating activities are primarily influenced by growth in our operations, increases or decreases in collections from our clients and related payments to our suppliers for advertising inventory and data. We typically pay suppliers in advance of collections from our clients. Our collection and payment cycles can vary from period to period. In addition, we expect seasonality to impact cash flows from operating activities on a sequential quarterly basis during the year.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2023, cash provided by operating activities of $507 million resulted primarily from net income adjusted for noncash items of $542 million and a net decrease in our operating assets and liabilities of $35 million. The net decrease in our operating assets and liabilities was primarily due to a $131 million increase in accounts receivable and a $37 million decrease in operating lease liabilities, partially offset by a $126 million increase in accounts payable and an $18 million increase in accrued expenses and other liabilities. The increase in accounts receivable was due to the timing and seasonality of cash receipts from clients. The decrease in operating lease liabilities was due primarily to rent payments. The increase in accounts payable was due to the timing and seasonality of payments to suppliers for the cost of advertising inventory, data and add-on features. The increase in accrued expenses and other liabilities is due to the timing of payment of personnel costs.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, cash provided by operating activities of $375 million resulted primarily from net income adjusted for noncash items of $431 million and a net decrease in our operating assets and liabilities of $55 million. The net decrease in our operating assets and liabilities was primarily due to a $69 million decrease in accounts payable, a $36 million decrease in operating lease liabilities and a $19 million decrease in accrued expenses and other liabilities, partially offset by a $43 million decrease in prepaid expenses and other assets and a $25 million decrease in accounts receivable. The decrease in accounts payable was due to seasonality and the timing of payments to suppliers. The decrease in operating lease liabilities was due primarily to rent payments. The decrease in accrued expenses and other liabilities was due primarily to payments of taxes associated with stock-based awards, bonus payments and reduction of the liability related to the ESPP due to the purchase of shares in accordance with the plan. The decrease in prepaid expenses and other assets was primarily due to a decrease in the income tax receivable including the
receipt of an income tax refund, partially offset by current year estimated income tax payments. The decrease in accounts receivable was due to seasonality and the timing of cash receipts from clients.
Our primary investing activities consist of investing in short-term marketable securities, purchases of property and equipment for the expansion of our new facilities in support of our expanding headcount as a result of our growth and capital expenditures to develop our software in support of enhancing our technology platform. As our business grows, our capital expenditures and our investment activity may increase.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2023, we used $51 million of cash in investing activities, consisting of $23 million of net purchases of short-term investments, $22 million to purchase property and equipment and $6 million of investments in capitalized software.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, we used $166 million of cash in investing activities, consisting of $125 million of net purchases of short-term investments, $36 million to purchase property and equipment and $5 million of investments in capitalized software.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2023, we used $415 million of cash in financing activities, consisting of $427 million of cash paid for repurchases of our Class A common stock and $55 million of taxes paid for restricted stock award settlements, partially offset by $45 million of proceeds from stock option exercises and $21 million of proceeds from our ESPP.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, cash provided by financing activities of $31 million was primarily due to $43 million of proceeds from stock option exercises and $26 million of proceeds from our ESPP, partially offset by $37 million of taxes paid for restricted stock award settlements.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have any relationships with other entities or financial partnerships, such as entities often referred to as structured finance or special purpose entities that have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements or other contractually narrow or limited purposes. We did not have any other off-balance sheet arrangements at September 30, 2023 other than the indemnification agreements described below.
Our principal commitments consist of our non-cancelable operating leases for our various office facilities and other contractual commitments consisting of obligations to our hosting services providers, marketing contracts and providers of software as a service. In certain cases, the terms of the lease agreements provide for rental payments on a graduated basis.
The following table summarizes our non-cancelable contractual obligations at September 30, 2023 (in thousands):
|Payments Due by Period|
|Remainder of 2023||2024 and Thereafter||Total|
|Operating lease commitments||$||18,685 ||$||251,821 ||$||270,506 |
|Other contractual commitments||48,895 ||388,383 ||437,278 |
|Total||$||67,580 ||$||640,204 ||$||707,784 |
In the ordinary course of business, we enter into agreements in which we may agree to indemnify clients, suppliers, vendors, lessors, business partners, lenders, stockholders and other parties with respect to certain matters, including losses resulting from claims of intellectual property infringement, damages to property or persons, business losses or other liabilities. Generally, these indemnity and defense obligations relate to our own business operations, obligations and acts or omissions. However, under some circumstances, we agree to indemnify and defend contract counterparties against losses resulting from their own business operations, obligations and acts or omissions, or the
business operations, obligations and acts or omissions of third parties. These indemnity provisions generally survive termination or expiration of the agreements in which they appear. In addition, we have entered into indemnification agreements with our directors, executive officers and other officers that will require us to indemnify them against liabilities that may arise by reason of their status or service as directors, officers or employees. In the ordinary course of business, demands have been made upon us to provide indemnification under such agreements, but we are not aware of any claims that could have a material effect on our balance sheet, statement of operations or statement of cash flows. Accordingly, no amounts for any obligation have been recorded at September 30, 2023.
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our condensed consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of these condensed consolidated financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and related disclosures. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. Our estimates are based on historical experience and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Our actual results could differ from these estimates.
We believe that the assumptions and estimates associated with the evaluation of revenue recognition criteria, including the determination of revenue recognition as net versus gross in our revenue arrangements, stock-based compensation expense and income taxes have the greatest potential impact on our condensed consolidated financial statements. Therefore, we consider these to be our critical accounting policies and estimates.
Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements
Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
We have operations both within the United States and internationally, and we are exposed to market risks in the ordinary course of our business. These risks include primarily interest rate and foreign currency exchange risks.
Interest Rate Risk
We are exposed to market risk from changes in interest rates under our Amended Credit Facility, which accrues interest at a variable rate. No amount was owed on our Amended Credit Facility as of September 30, 2023. We have not used any derivative financial instruments to manage our interest rate risk exposure. Based upon the short-term investments amount as of September 30, 2023, a hypothetical one percentage point increase or decrease in the interest rate would result in a corresponding increase or decrease in investment income of approximately $5 million annually.
Foreign Currency Exchange Risk
We have foreign currency exchange risk related to transactions denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar, principally the Euro, Australian Dollar, British Pound, Canadian Dollar, Japanese Yen, Indian Rupee, Indonesian Rupiah, Hong Kong Dollar and Singapore Dollar. The volatility of exchange rates depends on many factors that we cannot forecast with reliable accuracy. As of September 30, 2023, an immediate 10% adverse change in foreign exchange rates on foreign-denominated accounts would result in a foreign currency loss of approximately $30 million. In the event our non-U.S. Dollar denominated sales and expenses increase, our operating results may be more greatly affected by exchange rate fluctuations.
We enter into forward contracts or other derivative transactions in an attempt to hedge our foreign currency risk. There can be no assurance that such transactions will be effective in hedging some or all of our foreign currency exposures, and under some circumstances they could generate losses for us.
Item 4. Controls and Procedures
Evaluation of Disclosure Controls and Procedures
Our management, with the participation of our Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) and Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”), evaluated the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures as defined in Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) under the Exchange Act as of September 30, 2023. Our disclosure controls and procedures are designed to provide
reasonable assurance that information we are required to disclose in the reports we file or submit under the Exchange Act is accumulated and communicated to our management, including our CEO and CFO, as appropriate to allow timely decisions regarding required disclosures, and is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified in the SEC’s rules and forms. Based on this evaluation, our CEO and CFO have concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective at the reasonable assurance level as of September 30, 2023.
Changes in Internal Control over Financial Reporting
There have been no significant changes in our internal control over financial reporting during the quarter ended September 30, 2023 that have materially affected, or are reasonably likely to materially affect, our internal control over financial reporting.
Inherent Limitations on Effectiveness of Controls
Management recognizes that a control system, no matter how well conceived and operated, can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurance that the objectives of the control system are met. Further, the design of a control system must reflect the fact that there are resource constraints, and the benefits of controls must be considered relative to their costs. Because of the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud or error, if any, have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of a simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people, or by management override of the controls. The design of any system of controls also is based in part upon certain assumptions about the likelihood of future events, and there can be no assurance that any design will succeed in achieving its stated goals under all potential future conditions; over time, controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or the degree of compliance with policies or procedures may deteriorate. Because of the inherent limitations in a cost-effective control system, misstatements due to error or fraud may occur and not be detected.
PART II. OTHER INFORMATION
Item 1. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we are subject to various legal proceedings, litigation and claims, either asserted or unasserted, that arise in the ordinary course of business. Although the outcome of the various legal proceedings, litigation and claims cannot be predicted with certainty, management does not believe that any of these proceedings or other claims will have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. Regardless of the outcome, litigation can have an adverse impact on us because of defense and settlement costs, diversion of management resources and other factors.
On May 27, 2022, a stockholder filed a derivative lawsuit captioned Huizenga v. Green, et al., No. 2022-0461, asserting claims on our behalf against certain members of our board of directors in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware. On June 27, 2022, a second derivative lawsuit captioned Pfeiffer v. Green, et al., No. 2022-0560, was filed in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware alleging substantially similar claims. Those lawsuits were consolidated on August 18, 2022, and a lead plaintiff was appointed on October 7, 2022. The two complaints allege generally that the defendants breached their fiduciary duties to us and our stockholders in connection with the negotiation and approval of the CEO Performance Option. The plaintiffs seek a court order rescinding the CEO Performance Option and monetary damages. On November 10, 2022, the plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint, and on January 12, 2023, the defendants moved to dismiss the consolidated complaint. On March 24, 2023, plaintiffs filed an opposition to defendants’ motions to dismiss. Defendants filed their replies in support of their motions to dismiss on May 19, 2023, and oral argument is scheduled for February 7, 2024.
Litigation is inherently uncertain and there can be no assurance regarding the likelihood that the motions to dismiss or defense of the various actions will be successful.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should consider carefully the risks and uncertainties described below, together with all of the other information contained in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, including the condensed consolidated financial statements and the related notes and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, before making investment decisions related to our Class A common stock. If any of the following risks are realized, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially and adversely affected. In that event, the market price of our Class A common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
If we fail to maintain and grow our client base and spend through our platform, our revenue and business may be negatively impacted.
To sustain or increase our revenue, we must regularly add new clients and encourage existing clients to maintain or increase the amount of advertising inventory purchased through our platform and adopt new features and functionalities that we make available. If competitors introduce lower cost or differentiated offerings that compete with or are perceived to compete with our offerings, our ability to sell our services to new or existing clients could be impaired. We have spent significant effort in cultivating our relationships with advertising agencies, which has resulted in an increase in the budgets allocated to, and the amount of advertising purchased on, our platform. However, it is possible that we may reach a point of saturation at which we cannot continue to grow our revenue from such agencies because of internal limits that advertisers may place on the allocation of their advertising budgets to digital media to a particular provider or otherwise. While we generally have master services agreements (“MSAs”) in place with our clients, such agreements allow our clients to choose the amount they spend through our platform and terminate our services with limited notice. We at times supplement our MSAs with joint business plans and other incentive programs designed to increase spending from existing clients; however, such increased spending may not materialize in the amounts we expect or at all. We do not typically have exclusive relationships with our clients and there is limited cost and difficulty to moving their media spend to our competitors. As a result, we have limited visibility to our future advertising revenue streams. We cannot assure you that our clients will continue to use our platform to the extent that we expect or at all, or that we will be able to replace, in a timely or effective manner, departing clients with new clients that generate comparable revenue. If a major client representing a significant portion of our business decides to materially reduce its use of our platform or to cease using our platform
altogether, it is possible that our revenue or revenue growth rate could be significantly reduced, and our business negatively impacted.
The loss of advertising agencies as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our client base consists primarily of advertising agencies. We do not have exclusive relationships with advertising agencies, and we depend on agencies to work with us to build and maintain advertiser relationships and execute advertising campaigns.
The loss of agencies as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we fail to maintain satisfactory relationships with an advertising agency, we risk losing business from the current and future advertisers represented by that agency.
Advertisers may change advertising agencies. If an advertiser switches from an agency that utilizes our platform to one that does not, we will lose revenue from that advertiser. In addition, some advertising agencies have their own relationships with suppliers of advertising inventory and can directly connect advertisers with such suppliers. Our business may suffer to the extent that advertising agencies and inventory suppliers purchase and sell advertising inventory directly from one another or through intermediaries other than us.
We had over 1,000 clients, consisting primarily of advertising agencies, as of December 31, 2022. Many of these agencies are owned by holding companies, where decision making is decentralized such that purchasing decisions are made, and relationships with advertisers are located, at the agency, local branch or division level. If all of our individual client contractual relationships were aggregated at the holding company level, Publicis Groupe would have represented more than 10% of our gross billings for 2022.
In most cases, we enter into separate contracts and billing relationships with the individual agencies and account for them as separate clients. However, some holding companies for these agencies may choose to exert control over the individual agencies in the future. If so, any loss of relationships with such holding companies and consequently, of their agencies, local branches or divisions, as clients could significantly harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to innovate or make the right investment decisions in our offerings and platform, we may not attract and retain advertisers and advertising agencies and our revenue and results of operations may decline.
Our industry is subject to rapid and frequent changes in technology and laws governing our activities, evolving client needs and the frequent introduction by our competitors of new and enhanced offerings. We must constantly make investment decisions regarding offerings and technology to meet client demand and evolving industry and legal standards. We may make bad decisions regarding these investments. If new or existing competitors have more attractive offerings, we may lose clients or clients may decrease their use of our platform. New client demands, superior competitive offerings or new industry standards could require us to make unanticipated and costly changes to our platform or business model. In addition, as we develop and introduce new products and services, including those incorporating or utilizing artificial intelligence and machine learning and new processing of personal information, including identifiable information, they may raise new, or heighten existing, technological, security, legal and other challenges, may cause unintended consequences and may not function properly or may be misused by our clients. If we fail to adapt to our rapidly changing industry or to evolving client needs, or we provide new products and services that exacerbate technological, security, legal or other challenges, the reputation of and demand for our platform or related offerings could decrease and our business, financial condition and operations may be adversely affected.
The market for programmatic buying for advertising campaigns is relatively new and evolving. If this market develops slower or differently than we expect, our business, growth prospects and financial condition could be adversely affected.
The substantial majority of our revenue has been derived from clients that programmatically purchase advertising inventory through our platform. We expect that spending on programmatic ad buying will continue to be our primary source of revenue for the foreseeable future and that our revenue growth will largely depend on increasing spend through our platform. The market for programmatic ad buying is an emerging market, and our current and potential clients may not shift to programmatic ad buying from other buying methods as quickly as we expect, which would reduce our growth potential. If the market for programmatic ad buying deteriorates or develops more slowly than we expect, it could reduce demand for our platform, and our business, growth prospects and financial condition would be adversely affected.
In addition, our revenue may not necessarily grow at the same rate as spend on our platform. As the market for programmatic buying for advertising matures, growth in spend may outpace growth in our revenue due to a number of factors, including pricing competition, quantity discounts and shifts in product, media, client and channel mix. A significant change in revenue as a percentage of spend could reflect an adverse change in our business and growth prospects. In addition, any such fluctuations, even if they reflect our strategic decisions, could cause our performance to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our common stock.
The effects of health epidemics, such as the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, have had, and could in the future have, an adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our business and operations have been, and could in the future be, adversely affected by health epidemics, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control its spread curtailed the movement of people, goods and services worldwide, including in the regions in which we and our clients and partners operate, and significantly impacted economic activity and financial markets. Many marketers have decreased or paused their advertising spending as a response to the economic uncertainty, decline in business activity and other COVID-19-related impacts, which have negatively impacted, and with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic or other future health epidemics, may continue to negatively impact, our revenue and results of operations, the extent and duration of which we may not be able to accurately predict.
The economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has made and may continue to make it difficult for us to forecast revenue and operating results and to make decisions regarding operational cost structures and investments. The duration and extent of the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic depend on future developments that cannot be accurately predicted at this time, including the emergence of new variant strains of COVID-19 and the measures taken by governments, businesses and other organizations in response, and if we are not able to respond to and manage the impact of such events effectively, our business may be harmed.
The market in which we participate is intensely competitive, and we may not be able to compete successfully with our current or future competitors.
We operate in a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry. We expect competition to persist and intensify in the future, which could harm our ability to increase revenue and maintain profitability. New technologies and methods of buying advertising present a dynamic competitive challenge, as market participants develop and offer new products and services aimed at capturing advertising spend or disrupting the digital marketing landscape, such as analytics, automated media buying and exchanges.
We may also face competition from new companies entering the market, including large established companies and companies that we do not yet know about or do not yet exist. If existing or new companies develop, market or resell competitive high-value products or services that result in additional competition for advertising spend or advertising inventory or if they acquire one of our existing competitors or form a strategic alliance with one of our competitors, our ability to compete effectively could be significantly compromised and our results of operations could be harmed.
Our current and potential competitors may have significantly more financial, technical, marketing, and other resources than we have, which may allow them to devote greater resources to the development, promotion, sale and support of their products and services. They may also have more extensive advertiser bases and broader publisher relationships than we have, rich first-party data sets, and may be better positioned to execute on advertising conducted over certain channels, such as social media, mobile, and video. Some of our competitors may have a longer operating history and greater name recognition. As a result, these competitors may be better able to respond quickly to new technologies, develop superior solutions, develop deeper advertiser relationships or offer services at lower prices. Any of these developments would make it more difficult for us to sell our platform or related offerings and could result in increased pricing pressure, increased development, sales and marketing expense, or the loss of market share.
Any decrease in the use of the advertising channels that we are primarily dependent upon, failure to expand the use of emerging channels, or unexpected shift in use among the channels in which we operate, could harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Historically, our clients have predominantly used our platform to purchase mobile, display and video advertising inventory. In particular, the CTV market is quickly evolving and the demand for CTV inventory on our platform has been a significant driver of growth. We expect that these will continue to be significant channels used by our clients for digital
advertising in the future. We also believe that our revenue growth may depend on our ability to expand within social, native, audio, and especially CTV, and we have been, and are continuing to, enhance such channels. Any decrease in the use of mobile, display and video advertising, whether due to clients losing confidence in the value or effectiveness of such channels, regulatory restrictions, consumer choices, or other causes, or any inability to further penetrate social, native, audio or CTV, or enter new and emerging advertising channels, could harm our growth prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
Each advertising channel presents distinct and substantial risk and, in many cases, requires us to continue to develop additional functionality or features to address the particular requirements of the channel. Our ability to provide capabilities across multiple advertising channels, which we refer to as omnichannel, may be constrained if we are not able to maintain or grow advertising inventory for such channels, and some of our omnichannel offerings may not gain market acceptance. If we fail to maintain a diversified channel mix, a decrease in the demand for any channel or channels that we become primarily dependent upon could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. We may not be able to accurately predict changes in overall advertiser demand for the channels in which we operate and cannot assure you that our investment in channel development will correspond to any such changes. Furthermore, if our channel mix changes due to a shift in client demand, such as clients shifting their spending more quickly or more extensively than expected to channels in which we have relatively less functionality, features, or inventory, then demand for our platform could decrease, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We often have long sales cycles, which can result in significant time between initial contact with a prospect and execution of a client agreement, making it difficult to project when, if at all, we will obtain new clients and when we will generate revenue from those clients.
Our sales cycle for our platform and newer offerings, from initial contact to contract execution and implementation, can take significant time. Our sales efforts involve educating our clients about the use, technical capabilities and benefits of our platform and related offerings. Some of our clients undertake an evaluation process that frequently involves not only our platform but also the offerings of our competitors. As a result, it is difficult to predict when we will obtain new clients and begin generating revenue from these new clients. Even if our sales efforts result in obtaining a new client, under our usage-based pricing model, the client controls when and to what extent it uses our platform. As a result, we may not be able to add clients or generate revenue as quickly as we may expect, which could harm our revenue growth rates.
We are subject to payment-related risks that may adversely affect our business, working capital, financial condition and results of operations, including from advertising agencies that do not pay us until they receive payment from their advertisers and from clients that dispute or do not pay their invoices.
Spend on our platform primarily comes through our agency clients. Many of our contracts with advertising agencies provide that if the advertiser does not pay the agency, the agency is not liable to us, and we must seek payment solely from the advertiser, a type of arrangement called sequential liability. Contracting with these agencies, which in some cases have or may develop higher-risk credit profiles, may subject us to greater credit risk than if we were to contract directly with advertisers. This credit risk may vary depending on the nature of an advertising agency’s aggregated advertiser base. In addition, typically, we are contractually required to pay advertising inventory and data suppliers within a negotiated period of time, regardless of whether our clients pay us on time, or at all. In addition, we typically experience slow payment cycles by advertising agencies as is common in our industry. While we attempt to negotiate long payment periods with our suppliers and shorter periods from our clients, we are not always successful. As a result, we often face a timing issue with our accounts payable on shorter cycles than our accounts receivables, requiring us to remit payments from our own funds, and accept the risk of credit loss.
This collections and payments cycle may increasingly consume working capital if we continue to be successful in growing our business. If we are unable to borrow on commercially acceptable terms, our working capital availability could be reduced, and as a consequence, our financial condition and results of operations would be adversely impacted.
We may also be involved in disputes with clients, and in the case of agencies, their advertisers, over the operation of our platform, the terms of our agreements or our billings for purchases made by them through our platform. If we are unable to resolve disputes with our clients, we may lose clients or clients may decrease their use of our platform and our financial performance and growth may be adversely affected. If we are unable to collect or make adjustments to bills to clients, we could incur write-offs for credit loss, which could harm our results of operations. In the future, credit loss may exceed reserves for such contingencies and our credit loss exposure may increase over time. Any increase in write-offs for credit loss could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. Even if we are not paid by our clients on
time or at all, we are still obligated to pay for the advertising inventory, third-party data and other add-on features that clients purchase on our platform, and as a consequence, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely impacted.
We may experience fluctuations in our results of operations, which could make our future results of operations difficult to predict or cause our results of operations to fall below analysts’ and investors’ expectations.
Our quarterly and annual results of operations have fluctuated in the past and we expect our future results of operations to fluctuate due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Fluctuations in our results of operations could cause our performance to fall below the expectations of analysts and investors, and adversely affect the price of our common stock. Because our business is changing and evolving rapidly, our historical results of operations may not be necessarily indicative of our future results of operations. Factors that may cause our results of operations to fluctuate include the following:
•changes in demand for programmatic advertising and for our platform, including related to the seasonal nature of our clients’ spending on digital advertising campaigns;
•changes to availability of and pricing of competitive products and services, and their effects on our pricing;
•changes in the pricing or availability of data and other third-party services, including pricing structure changes and the alignment of our pricing model with our data partners;
•changes in our client base and platform or related offerings;
•the addition or loss of advertising agencies and advertisers as clients;
•changes in advertising budget allocations, agency affiliations or marketing strategies;
•changes to our product, media, client or channel mix;
•changes and uncertainty in the regulatory environment for us, advertisers or others in the advertising industry, and the effects of our efforts and those of our clients and partners to address changes and uncertainty in the regulatory environment;
•changes in the economic prospects of advertisers or the economy generally, which could alter advertisers’ budgets or spending priorities, or could increase the time or costs required to complete advertising inventory sales;
•changes in the pricing and availability of advertising inventory, including through real-time advertising exchanges or in the cost of reaching end consumers through digital advertising;
•disruptions, outages, vulnerabilities or technological issues uncovered on our platform or related offerings;
•factors beyond our control, such as natural disasters, terrorism, war and public health crises;
•the introduction of new technologies or offerings by our competitors or others in the advertising marketplace;
•changes in our capital expenditures as we acquire the hardware, equipment and other assets required to support our business;
•timing differences between our payments for advertising inventory and our collection of related advertising revenue;
•the length and unpredictability of our sales cycle;
•costs related to acquisitions of businesses or technologies and development of new products;
•cost of employee recruiting and retention; and
•changes to the cost of infrastructure, including real estate and information technology.
Based upon the factors above and others beyond our control, we have a limited ability to forecast our future revenue, costs and expenses. If we fail to meet or exceed the operating results expectations of analysts and investors or if analysts and investors have estimates and forecasts of our future performance that are unrealistic or that we do not meet, the market price of our common stock could decline. In addition, if one or more of the analysts who cover us adversely change their recommendation regarding our stock, the market price of our common stock could decline. In the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future, which could result in substantial costs and divert our management’s attention from other business concerns.
If our access to quality advertising inventory is diminished or fails to expand, our revenue could decline and our growth could be impeded.
We must maintain a consistent supply of attractive ad inventory. Our success depends on our ability to secure quality inventory on reasonable terms across a broad range of advertising networks and exchanges and social media platforms, including video, display, CTV, audio and mobile inventory. The amount, quality and cost of inventory available to us can change at any time, including as publishers and other inventory suppliers respond to changes in the legal and regulatory landscape. A few inventory suppliers hold a significant portion of the programmatic inventory either generally or concentrated in a particular channel, such as audio and social media. In addition, we compete with companies with which we have business relationships. For example, Google is one of our largest advertising inventory suppliers in addition to being one of our competitors. If Google or any other company with attractive advertising inventory limits our access to its advertising inventory, our business could be adversely affected. If our relationships with certain of our suppliers were to cease, or if the material terms of these relationships were to change unfavorably, our business would be negatively impacted. Our suppliers are generally not bound by long-term contracts. As a result, there is no guarantee that we will have access to a consistent supply of quality inventory on favorable terms or at all. If we are unable to compete favorably for advertising inventory available on real-time advertising exchanges, or if real-time advertising exchanges decide not to make their advertising inventory available to us, we may not be able to place advertisements or find alternative sources of inventory with comparable traffic patterns and consumer demographics in a timely manner. Furthermore, the inventory that we access through real-time advertising exchanges may be of low quality or misrepresented to us, despite attempts by us and our suppliers to prevent fraud and conduct quality assurance checks.
Inventory suppliers control the bidding process, rules and procedures for the inventory they supply. Such processes may not always work in our favor or for the benefit of our clients and may create inefficiencies in the supply chain for advertising inventory. Given the importance of ensuring access to quality inventory for our advertisers, we have initiated our own efforts to procure access through OpenPath, our supply path optimization offering intended to give clients a simplified, direct connection to publishers. However, there can be no guarantee that we will be successful in any such efforts or at all.
As new types of inventory become available, we will need to expend significant resources to ensure we have access to such new inventory. For example, although television advertising is a large market, only a very small percentage of it is currently purchased through digital advertising exchanges. We are investing heavily in our programmatic television offering, including by increasing our workforce and by adding new features, functions and integrations to our platform. If the CTV market does not continue to grow as we anticipate or we fail to successfully serve such market, our growth prospects could be harmed.
Our success depends on consistently adding valued inventory in a cost-effective manner. If we are unable to maintain a consistent supply of quality inventory for any reason, client retention and loyalty, and our financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
Current or future global market uncertainties or downturns and associated macroeconomic conditions beyond our control could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our business depends on the overall demand for advertising and on the economic health of advertisers that benefit from our platform. Current or future global market uncertainties or downturns and associated macroeconomic conditions, such as growing inflation, rising interest rates, recessionary fears, changes in foreign currency exchange rates, the impact of global instability in many parts of the world and the COVID-19 pandemic or other public health crises, may disrupt the operations of our clients and partners and cause advertisers to decrease or pause their advertising budgets, which could reduce spend though our platform and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. As we
explore new countries to expand our business, economic downturns or unstable market conditions in any of those countries could also result in our investments not yielding the returns we anticipate.
Seasonal fluctuations in advertising activity could have a negative impact on our revenue, cash flow and results of operations.
Our revenue, cash flow, results of operations and other key operating and performance metrics may vary from quarter to quarter due to the seasonal nature of our clients’ spending on advertising campaigns. For example, clients tend to devote more of their advertising budgets to the fourth calendar quarter to coincide with consumer holiday spending. Moreover, advertising inventory in the fourth quarter may be more expensive due to increased demand for it. Political advertising could also cause our revenue to increase during election cycles and decrease during other periods. Our historical revenue growth has lessened the impact of seasonality; however, seasonality could have a more significant impact on our revenue, cash flow and results of operations from period to period if our growth rate declines, if seasonal spending becomes more pronounced, or if seasonality otherwise differs from our expectations.
Failure to manage our growth effectively could cause our business to suffer and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
We have experienced and continue to experience significant growth in a short period of time. To manage our growth effectively, we must continually evaluate and evolve our organization. We must also manage our employees, operations, finances, technology and development and capital investments efficiently. Our efficiency, productivity and the quality of our platform and client service may be adversely impacted if we do not train our new personnel, particularly our sales and support personnel, quickly and effectively, or if we fail to appropriately coordinate across our organization. Additionally, our rapid growth may place a strain on our resources, infrastructure and ability to maintain the quality of our platform and related offerings. Our revenue growth and levels of profitability in recent periods should not be considered as indicative of future performance. In future periods, our revenue or profitability could decline or grow more slowly than we expect. Failure to manage our growth effectively could cause our business to suffer and have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
As our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain profitability.
We have expended significant resources to grow our business in recent years by increasing the offerings of our platform, adding new offerings, growing our number of employees and expanding internationally. Supporting our continued growth may require substantial financial and other resources to, among other things:
•develop our platform and related offerings, including by investing in our engineering team, creating, acquiring or licensing new products or features, and improving the availability and security of our platform and related offerings;
•continue to expand internationally by growing our sales force and client services team in an effort to increase our client base and spend through our platform, and by adding inventory and data from countries our clients are seeking;
•improve our technology infrastructure, including investing in internal technology development and acquiring outside technologies;
•expand our platform’s reach in new and growing channels such as CTV, including expanding the supply of CTV inventory;
•cover general and administrative expenses, including legal, accounting and other expenses necessary to support a larger organization;
•cover sales and marketing expenses, including a significant expansion of our direct sales organization;
•cover expenses relating to data collection and use and consumer privacy compliance, including additional infrastructure, product features, security, automation and personnel; and
•explore strategic acquisitions.
Investing in the foregoing, however, may not yield anticipated returns. Consequently, as our costs increase, we may not be able to generate sufficient revenue to sustain profitability.
We allow our clients to utilize application programming interfaces (“APIs”) with our platform, which could result in outages or security breaches and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The use of APIs by our clients has significantly increased in recent years. Our APIs allow clients to build their own media buying and data management interface by using our APIs to develop custom integration of their business with our platform. The increased use of APIs increases security and operational risks to our systems and the users of our systems, including the risk for intrusion attacks, data theft, or denial of service attacks. Furthermore, while APIs allow clients greater ease and power in accessing our platform, they also increase the risk of overusing our systems, potentially causing outages. We have experienced system slowdowns due to client overuse of our systems through our APIs. While we have taken measures intended to decrease security and outage risks associated with the use of APIs, we cannot guarantee that such measures will be successful. Our failure to prevent outages or security breaches resulting from API use could result in government enforcement actions against us, claims for damages by consumers and other affected individuals, costs associated with investigation and remediation damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may experience outages, disruptions, and malfunctions on our platform and related offerings, if we fail to maintain adequate security and supporting infrastructure and processes, which may harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
As we expand our offerings, which in some instances involves ingesting more identifiable and sensitive information, the consequences of potential security vulnerabilities become more significant for our business. We expect to continue to invest in technology and security services, equipment, and expertise, including engineers, data centers, network services and database technologies, as well as potentially increase our reliance on open source software. Without these improvements, our operations might suffer from security vulnerabilities or misuse, system disruptions, data loss, slow transaction processing, unreliable service levels, impaired quality or delays in reporting accurate information regarding transactions in our platform, any of which could negatively affect our financial condition, reputation and ability to attract and retain clients. In addition, the expansion and improvement of our systems and infrastructure may require us to commit substantial financial, operational and technical resources, with no assurance our business will increase. If we fail to respond to technological change or to adequately maintain, protect, expand, upgrade and develop our systems and infrastructure in a timely fashion, our growth prospects and results of operations could be adversely affected. The steps we take to increase the reliability, integrity and security of our platform and related offerings as they scale are expensive and complex, and our execution could result in operational failures and increased vulnerability to cyberattacks. Such cyberattacks could include denial-of-service attacks impacting service availability (including the ability to deliver ads) and reliability, tricking company employees into releasing control of their systems to a hacker, or the introduction of computer viruses or malware into our systems with a view to steal confidential or proprietary data. Cyberattacks of increasing sophistication may be difficult to detect and could result in the theft of our intellectual property and data, including personal information, from our platform. We are also vulnerable to unintentional errors or malicious or improper actions by persons with authorized access to our systems that exceed the scope of their access rights, distribute data erroneously, or, unintentionally or intentionally, interfere with the intended operations and functioning of our platform and related offerings. Moreover, we could be adversely impacted by outages and disruptions in the online platforms of our inventory and data suppliers, such as real-time advertising exchanges. Misuse, vulnerabilities, outages and disruptions of our platform and related offerings, including due to cyberattacks, may require engagement with regulators or lead to legal actions, harm our reputation and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Operational performance and internal control issues with our platform may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and subject us to liability.
Our platform and other offerings are complex and proprietary, and we rely on the expertise of members of our engineering, operations and software development teams for its continued performance. Operational, performance and internal control issues may arise due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, introductions of new functionality, human or software errors and other internal and external variables. Such issues have caused errors, failures, design flaws, vulnerabilities and bugs in the past and may again in the future. We also rely on third-party technology and systems to perform properly and is often used in connection with computing environments utilizing different operating systems, system management software, equipment and networking configurations, which may cause errors in, or failures of, our platform or such other computing environments. Operational, performance and internal control issues with our platform and related offerings, which we may experience and have experienced in the past, could include the failure of our user interface, outages, errors, discrepancies in costs billed versus costs paid, unauthorized bidding, cessation of our ability to bid or deliver impressions, deletion of our reporting information, unanticipated volume overwhelming our databases, server failure or catastrophic events affecting one or more server farms.
Operational, performance, design, and internal control issues with our platform and related offerings, whether real or perceived, could also result in negative publicity, damage to our brand and reputation, government investigations, loss of clients, loss of data, loss of or delay in market acceptance or market share of our platform or related offerings, increased costs or loss of revenue, loss of the ability to access our platform or related offerings, loss of competitive position, claims by clients for losses sustained by them and loss of stockholder confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports. Alleviating problems resulting from such issues could require significant expenditures of capital and other resources and could cause interruptions, delays or the cessation of our business, any of which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If unauthorized access is obtained to user, client or inventory and third-party provider data, or our platform is compromised, our services may be disrupted or perceived as insecure, and as a result, we may lose existing clients or fail to attract new clients, and we may incur significant reputational harm and legal and financial liabilities.
Our products and services involve the storage and transmission of significant amounts of data from users, clients and inventory and data providers, a large volume of which is hosted by third-party service providers. Our services and the data on our platform and in our systems could be exposed to unauthorized access due to activities that breach or undermine security measures, including: negligence or malfeasance by internal or external actors; attempts by outside parties to fraudulently induce employees, clients or vendors to disclose sensitive information; or errors or vulnerabilities in our systems, products or processes or in those of our service providers, clients, and vendors. For example, from time to time, we experience cyberattacks of varying degrees and other attempts to obtain unauthorized access to our systems, including to employee mailboxes. We have dedicated and expect to continue to dedicate resources toward security protections that shield data from these activities. However, such measures cannot provide absolute security. Further, we can expect that the deployment of techniques to circumvent our security measures may occur with more frequency and sophistication and may not be recognized until launched against a target. Accordingly, we may be unable to anticipate or detect these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. Finally, while we have developed worldwide incident response teams and dedicated resources to incident response processes, such processes could, among other issues, fail to be adequate or accurately assess the incident severity, not proceed quickly enough, or fail to sufficiently remediate an incident.
Many of our employees now have a hybrid work schedule consisting of both in-person work and working from home. Although we have implemented work-from-home protocols and provide work-issued devices to employees, the actions of our employees while working from home may have a greater effect on the security of our systems, the platform and the data we process, including by increasing the risk of compromise to our systems, confidential information or data arising from employees’ combined personal and private use of devices, accessing our systems or data using wireless networks that we do not control or the ability to transmit or store company-controlled data outside of our secured network.
A breach of our security, a flawed design, and/or our failure to respond sufficiently to a security incident could disrupt our services and result in theft, misuse, loss, corruption, or improper use or disclosure of data. This could result in government investigations, enforcement actions and other legal and financial liability, and/or loss of confidence in the availability and security of our products and services, all of which could seriously harm our reputation and brand and impair our ability to attract and retain clients. As we launch new products and services, some of which involve the receipt and processing of identifiable information, the risks associated with data including risks to breach of our systems increases, and we could be subject to contractual breach and indemnification claims from other clients and partners and otherwise suffer damage to our reputation, brand, and business. Our platform may also receive data in aggregated or pseudonymized form, and if our systems are breached and such data or information is compromised, it could be damaging to our brand, reputation, and business. Cyberattacks could also compromise our own trade secrets and other sensitive information and result in such information being disclosed to others and becoming less valuable, which could negatively affect our business.
Privacy and data protection laws to which we are subject may cause us to incur additional or unexpected costs, subject us to enforcement actions for compliance failures, or cause us to change our platform or business model, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.
Information relating to individuals and their devices (commonly called “personal information” or “personal data”) is regulated under a wide variety of local, state, national and international laws and regulations that apply to the collection, use, retention, protection, disclosure, transfer (including transfer across national boundaries) and other processing of such data. We typically collect and store IP addresses and other device identifiers (such as unique cookie identifiers and mobile application identifiers), which are or may be considered personal data or personal information in many jurisdictions or otherwise may be the subject of regulation. In connection with newer products and services, including Unified ID 2.0 and
EUID, we may also receive information that directly identifies individuals, such as email addresses and phone numbers. We may receive such information both directly from consumers and from our clients or others, and we deploy technical and contractual measures to limit how such identifying information can be used and shared.
The global regulatory landscape regarding the protection of personal information is evolving, and U.S. (state and federal) and foreign governments are considering enacting additional legislation and rulemaking related to data privacy and data protection and we expect to see an increase in, or changes to, legislation and regulation in this area. For example, in the U.S., in August 2022 the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) released and accepted comments on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking concerning “commercial surveillance” covering a host of data privacy and security topics. In addition, a potential federal omnibus privacy law remains the subject of active discussion. If passed, such a law would likely substantially impact the online advertising ecosystem.
State lawmakers are also actively addressing consumer data privacy issues. By the end of 2023, five states will have broad-based consumer privacy laws in effect: California, Virginia, Colorado, Connecticut, and Utah. In addition, numerous other states, such as Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas, have recently passed similar laws, which go into effect throughout 2024 and beyond. These state laws define “personal data” broadly enough to include many online identifiers provided by individuals’ devices, applications, and protocols (such as IP addresses, mobile application identifiers and unique cookie identifiers), individuals’ location data, and hashed versions of email addresses and phone numbers. These laws generally require covered businesses to meet numerous data privacy-related obligations, among other requirements, establishing data privacy rights for consumers in such states (including rights to request deletion of and access to personal data), imposing special rules on the collection of personal data from minors and other personal data deemed “sensitive” under the laws, and creating new notice obligations. Most significant for the advertising industry, however, these laws require businesses that engage in certain advertising uses of personal data to offer and honor an opt-out of such activities, including, in some states, through browser or device-based preference signals. (Terminology varies slightly among some of the state laws, tying the opt-out requirement to “targeted advertising,” “sales” or “sharing” of personal data.) Importantly, as a consequence of these obligations, the availability of data within our platform, our other services and the advertising ecosystem more broadly may decline, potentially making our platform and services less valuable to our clients. Moreover, these state laws and their implementing regulations may increase compliance costs and obligations on us, our clients, and other companies in the advertising industry. Although we have attempted to mitigate certain risks posed by these laws through contractual and platform changes, we cannot predict with certainty the effect of these laws and their implementing regulations on our business.
California first passed an omnibus consumer privacy law (the California Consumer Privacy Act, or “CCPA”) in 2018. Though updates to that law went into effect on January 1, 2023, enforcement activity under the initial law in 2022 revealed that regulators interpret “sales” broadly to include common advertising technology practices. This enforcement activity, together with the updates to California’s law and the state laws taking effect throughout 2023 and beyond, will impact our practices and those of our clients and others in the advertising industry. Enforcement activity by the California Attorney General also reflects an ongoing focus on online advertising activities and signals regulators’ willingness to pursue in-depth investigations and impose substantial penalties on entities allegedly operating in violation of the statute.
The CCPA also creates a potentially severe statutory damages framework for violations of the law and for businesses that fail to implement reasonable security procedures and practices to prevent data breaches. The CCPA also offers the possibility for a consumer to recover statutory damages for certain violations and could open the door more broadly to additional risks of individual and class-action lawsuits even though the statute’s private right of action is limited in scope.
Although the California Privacy Protection Agency’s rulemaking activities remain ongoing, the CCPA and the existing implementing regulations will likely increase compliance costs and obligations on us, our clients, and other companies in the advertising industry. Thus, we expect that continuing to maintain compliance with California’s legal requirements, including monitoring and adjusting to new regulations and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, will require significant time, resources, and expense, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.
Following the passage of the CCPA, other states began passing privacy laws. The state omnibus consumer privacy laws passed outside of California use somewhat different terminology from the CCPA but result in many of the same compliance obligations, and may similarly require significant time, resources and expense to develop and maintain compliance. Any obligations imposed by these state laws that diverge from the CCPA’s requirements will require further investment for compliance. For example, the regulations issued pursuant to the Colorado Privacy Act (“CPA”) impose detailed requirements for compliance with a variety of CPA obligations such as those related to offering and honoring an opt-out of certain advertising activities, including through browser or device-based preference signals.
In addition to these broad-based consumer privacy laws, lawmakers and regulators continue to focus on activities that involve use of categories of personal data perceived as especially sensitive, such as health data and children’s data. Several states have enacted laws that would substantially impact activities that involve showing targeted advertisements to individuals under 18 through a variety of new restrictions, though many of these laws are subject to ongoing legal challenge on First Amendment and other grounds. At the federal level, several bills introduced this session would likewise further regulate the processing of children’s data. Further, Washington’s recently enacted My Health, My Data Act (“MHMD”) introduces a host of new requirements related to a very broadly-defined notion of consumer health data that will likely impact that advertising industry. Unlike other state privacy laws, MHMD is subject to a private right of action, so plaintiffs’ attorneys could explore claims that stretch the bounds of the law’s text. MHMD sets out stringent requirements for such authorizations, such as being separate and distinct from any other consents provided by the consumer, containing the name and contact information of the data purchaser and expiration of the authorization after one year. These laws and the heightened scrutiny associated with the enforcement of such laws may, in turn, ultimately lead to increased compliance costs and obligations on us, our clients and other companies in the advertising industry.
Laws governing the processing of personal data in Europe (including the U.K., European Union and EEA, and the countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) also continue to impact us and continue to evolve. The General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which applies to us, came into effect on May 25, 2018. Like the omnibus laws passed in California and other states, the GDPR defines “personal data” broadly, and it enhances data protection obligations for controllers of such data and for service providers processing the data. It also provides certain rights, such as access and deletion, to the individuals about whom the personal data relates. IAB Europe previously collaborated with the digital advertising industry to create a user-facing framework (the Transparency and Control Framework, or “TCF”) for establishing and managing legal bases under the GDPR and other U.K. and EU privacy laws including the ePrivacy Directive. Although the TCF is actively in use, its viability as a compliance mechanism is under review by European authorities and we cannot predict its effectiveness over the long term. Non-compliance with the GDPR can trigger steep fines of up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of total worldwide annual revenue. Relatedly, following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EEA and the European Union, and the expiry of the transition period, we must comply with both the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, the latter regime having the ability to separately fine up to the greater of £17.5 million or 4% of global turnover. Continuing to maintain compliance with the requirements of the GDPR and the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 2018, including monitoring and adjusting to rulings and interpretations that affect our approach to compliance, requires significant time, resources and expense, as will the effort to monitor whether additional changes to our business practices and our backend configuration are needed, all of which may increase operating costs, or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.
Changes in data residency and cross-border transfer restrictions also impact our operations. For the transfer of personal data from the EU to the United States, like many U.S. and European companies, we have relied upon, and were certified under the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield Frameworks. The Privacy Shield Framework, however, was struck down in July 2020 by the EU Court of Justice (a decision referred to as “Schrems II”) as an adequate mechanism by which EU companies may pass personal data to the United States, and other EU mechanisms for adequate data transfer, such as the standard contractual clauses, were questioned by the Court of Justice and whether and how standard contractual clauses can be used to transfer personal data to the United States is in question. In June 2021, the European Commission published revised standard contractual clauses, and shortly thereafter the European Data Protection Board promulgated guidance on implementation of the new clauses. In October 2022, the White House released an executive order implementing a new EU-U.S. data transfer mechanism, the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework (“DPF”). The DPF aims to address the concerns raised by the court in Schrems II relating to perceived risks of transferring personal data to the United States by putting in place a new set of “commercial principles” similar to the old Privacy Shield Framework together with new rules governing U.S. intelligence authorities and redress for EU individuals. The European Commission adopted an adequacy decision for the DPF in July 2023, which helps to reduce the legal uncertainty of cross-border transfers of personal data, though has already been subject to legal challenge in Europe. In addition, the validity of the standard contractual clauses as a transfer mechanism remains uncertain. If all or some jurisdictions within the EU or the U.K. determine that the new standard contractual clauses also cannot be used to transfer personal data to the United States and if the DPF is ultimately struck down in the same manner as the Privacy Shield Framework, we could be left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data. If left with no reasonable option for the lawful cross-border transfer of personal data, and if we nonetheless continue to transfer personal data from the EU to the United States, that could lead to governmental enforcement actions, litigation, fines and penalties or adverse publicity, which could have an adverse effect on our reputation and business or cause us to need to establish systems to maintain certain data in the EU, which may involve substantial expense and cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Other jurisdictions have adopted or are considering cross-border or data residency restrictions, which could reduce the amount of data we can collect or process and, as a result, significantly impact our business.
Regulatory investigations and enforcement actions could also impact us. In the U.S., the FTC uses its enforcement powers under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (which prohibits “unfair” and “deceptive” trade practices) to
investigate companies engaging in online tracking. For example, the FTC brought several actions in 2023 against companies regarding their alleged disclosure of consumer health data to third-party platforms for advertising purposes, signaling increased regulatory scrutiny of advertising practices that involve particularly “sensitive” categories of personal data such as health data. Other companies in the advertising technology space have been subject to government investigation by regulatory bodies; advocacy organizations have also filed complaints with data protection authorities against advertising technology companies, arguing that certain of these companies’ practices do not comply with data privacy laws, such as the CCPA or GDPR, or consumer protection laws such as the FTC Act. We cannot avoid the possibility that one of these investigations or enforcement actions will require us to alter our practices. Further, our legal risk depends in part on our clients’ or other third parties’ adherence to data privacy laws and regulations and their use of our services in ways consistent with end user expectations. We rely on representations made to us by clients, partners and providers that they will comply with all applicable laws, including all relevant data privacy and data protection regulations. Although we make reasonable efforts to enforce such representations and contractual requirements, we do not fully audit our clients’ compliance with our recommended disclosures or their adherence to data privacy laws and regulations. If our clients, partners or providers fail to adhere to our expectations or contracts in this regard, we and our clients could be subject to adverse publicity, damages and related possible investigation or other regulatory activity.
Adapting our data business to privacy laws enacted at the state level and their implementing regulations and to the enhanced and evolving privacy obligations in the EU and elsewhere could continue to involve substantial expense and may cause us to divert resources from other aspects of our operations, all of which may adversely affect our business. Additionally, as the advertising industry evolves, and new ways of collecting, combining and using data are created, governments may enact legislation in response to technological advancements and changes that could result in our having to re-design features or functions of our platform, therefore incurring unexpected compliance costs. Further, adaptation of the digital advertising marketplace requires increasingly significant collaboration between participants in the market, such as publishers and advertisers. Failure of the industry to adapt to changes required for operating under existing and future data privacy laws and user response to such changes could negatively impact inventory, data, and demand. We cannot control or predict the pace or effectiveness of such adaptation, and we cannot currently predict the impact such changes may have on our business.
In addition to laws regulating the processing of personal data, we are also subject to regulation with respect to political advertising activities, which are governed by various federal and state laws in the U.S., and national and provincial laws worldwide. Online political advertising laws are rapidly evolving and, in certain jurisdictions, have varying transparency and disclosure requirements. We saw publishers impose varying prohibitions and restrictions on the types of political advertising and breadth of targeted advertising allowed on their platforms with respect to advertisements for the 2020 U.S. presidential election in response to political advertising scandals, such as the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. The lack of uniformity and increasing requirements on transparency and disclosure could adversely impact the inventory made available for political advertising and the demand for such inventory on our platform, and otherwise increase our operating and compliance costs. Concerns about political advertising or other advertising in areas deemed sensitive, whether or not valid and whether or not driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or public perception, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of our platform by current and future clients.
These laws and other obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our existing data management practices or the features of our platform. If so, in addition to the possibility of fines, lawsuits and other claims, we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices or modify our products, which could have an adverse effect on our business. We may be unable to make such changes and modifications in a commercially reasonable manner or at all, and our ability to develop new products and features could be limited. All of this could impair our or our clients’ ability to collect, use, or disclose information relating to consumers, which could decrease demand for our platform, increase our costs, and impair our ability to maintain and grow our client base and increase our revenue.
Commitments to advertising technology industry self-regulation may subject us to investigation by government or self-regulatory bodies, government or private litigation, and operational costs or harm to reputation or brand.
In addition to laws, the online advertising ecosystem is subject to best practices and self-regulatory standards such as those promulgated by the Network Advertising Initiative and the Digital Advertising Alliance, and similar organizations in Europe and Canada. If we or our clients or partners make mistakes in the implementation of these principles, or if self-regulatory bodies expand these guidelines or government authorities issue different guidelines regarding targeted advertising, or opt out mechanisms fail to work as designed, or if Internet users misunderstand our technology or our
commitments with respect to these principles, we could be subject to negative publicity, government investigation, government or private litigation or investigation by self-regulatory bodies or other accountability groups. Any such action against us, or investigations, even if meritless, could be costly and time consuming, require us to change our business practices, cause us to divert management’s attention and our resources and be damaging to our brand, reputation and business. In addition, privacy advocates and industry groups may propose new and different standards that either legally or contractually apply to us. We cannot yet determine the impact such future standards may have on our business.
Third parties control our access to unique identifiers, and if the use of “third-party cookies” or other technology to uniquely identify devices is rejected by Internet users, restricted or otherwise subject to unfavorable regulation, blocked or limited by preference signals, technical changes on end users’ devices and web browsers, or our and our clients’ ability to use data on our platform is otherwise restricted, our performance may decline and we may lose advertisers and revenue.
Our ability to successfully leverage user data and generate revenue from opportunities to serve advertisements could be impacted by restrictions imposed by laws or by third parties, including restrictions on our ability to use or read cookies, device identifiers, or other tracking features or our ability to use real-time bidding networks or other bidding networks. For example, if publishers or supply-side platforms decide to limit the data that we receive in order to comply (in their view) with state privacy laws or a potential federal data privacy law, then our service may prove to be less valuable to our clients and we may find it more difficult to generate revenue. That is, if third parties on which we rely for data or opportunities to serve advertisements impose limitations (for whatever reason) or are restricted by other ecosystem participants or applicable regulations, we may lose the ability to access data, bid on opportunities, or purchase digital ad space, which could have a substantial impact on our revenue.
Digital advertising mostly relies on the ability to uniquely identify devices across websites and applications, and to collect data about user interactions with those devices for purposes such as serving relevant ads and measuring the effectiveness of ads. Devices are identified through unique identifiers stored in cookies (and similar technologies), provided by device operating systems for advertising purposes, or generated based on statistical algorithms applied to information about a device, such as the IP address and device type. We use device identifiers to record information such as when an Internet user views an ad, clicks on an ad, or visits one of our advertiser’s websites or applications. We use device identifiers to help us achieve our advertisers’ campaign goals, including to limit the instances that an Internet user sees the same advertisement, report information to our advertisers regarding the performance of their advertising campaigns, and detect and prevent malicious behavior and invalid traffic throughout our network of inventory. We also use data associated with device identifiers to help our clients decide whether to bid on, and how to price, an opportunity to place an advertisement in a specific location, at a given time, in front of a particular Internet user. Additionally, our clients rely on device identifiers to add information they have collected or acquired about users into our platform. Without such data, our clients may not have sufficient insight into an Internet user’s activity, which may compromise their and our ability to determine which inventory to purchase for a specific campaign and may undermine the effectiveness of our platform or our ability to improve our platform and remain competitive.
state privacy laws require businesses to permit end users to opt out of processing their personal data for purposes of targeted advertising, including, in some states through automated signals, we expect that more opt-out solutions will become available that may ultimately be used by end users, which may reduce our clients’ use of our platform, and our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Advertising shown on mobile applications can also be affected by blocking or restricting use of mobile device identifiers. Data regarding interactions between users and devices are tracked mostly through stable, pseudonymous advertising identifiers that are built into the device operating system with privacy controls that allow users to express a preference with respect to data collection for advertising, including to disable the identifier. These identifiers and privacy controls are defined by the developers of the platforms through which the applications are accessed and could be changed by the platforms in a way that may negatively impact our business. For example, Apple has shifted to require user opt-in before permitting access to Apple’s unique identifier, or IDFA, and Google has announced that it will deprecate the mobile advertising identifier used on Android devices entirely. These changes have had, and will likely continue to have, a substantial impact on the mobile advertising ecosystem and could adversely impact our growth in this channel.
As the collection and use of data for digital advertising has received media attention over the past several years, some government regulators, such as the FTC, and privacy advocates have suggested creating a “Do Not Track” standard that would allow Internet users to express a preference, independent of cookie settings in their browser, not to have their online browsing activities tracked implemented through an opt-out preference tool such as the “Global Privacy Control.” In addition to the CCPA, recent state privacy laws and regulations issued pursuant to those laws address and expand on requirements for honoring browser-based or similar technical signals for consumers to opt out of the sale and the use of personal data for targeted advertising purposes. If use of the “Global Privacy Control” or similar signals is adopted by many Internet users or if such a standard is imposed by even more states or by federal or foreign legislation or is agreed upon by standard setting groups, we may have to change our business practices, our clients may reduce their use of our platform, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Increased transparency into the collection and use of data for digital advertising, introduced both through features in browsers and devices and regulatory requirements, such as the GDPR, state privacy laws, “Global Privacy Control,” and the ePrivacy Directive, as well as compliance with such requirements, may create operational burdens to implement and may lead more users to choose to block the collection and use of data about them. Adapting to these and similar changes has in the past and may in the future require significant time, resources and expense, which may increase our cost of operation or limit our ability to operate or expand our business.
Concerns regarding data privacy and security relating to our industry’s technology and practices, and actual or perceived failure to comply with laws and industry self-regulation, could damage our reputation and deter current and potential clients from using our products and services.
Public perception regarding data protection and privacy are significant in the programmatic advertising buying industry. Concerns about industry practices with regard to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data, whether or not valid and whether driven by applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, client or inventory provider expectations, or the broader public, may harm our reputation, result in loss of goodwill, and inhibit use of our platform or
related offerings by current and future clients. For example, perception that our practices involve an invasion of privacy or are designed with insufficient protections, whether or not such practices are consistent with current or future laws, regulations, or industry practices, may subject us to public criticism, private class actions, reputational harm, or claims by regulators, which could disrupt our business and expose us to increased liability.
Our failure to meet standards and provide services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust, could harm our brand and reputation and those of our partners and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We do not provide or control the content of the advertisements that we serve or the content of the websites providing the inventory. Advertisers provide the advertising content and inventory suppliers provide the inventory. Both advertisers and inventory suppliers are concerned about being associated with content they consider inappropriate, competitive or inconsistent with their brands or illegal, and they are hesitant to spend money or make inventory available, respectively, without some guarantee of brand security. Consequently, our reputation depends in part on providing services that our advertisers and inventory suppliers trust, and we have contractual obligations to meet content and inventory standards. We contractually prohibit the misuse of our platform by our clients and inventory suppliers. Additionally, we use our proprietary technology and third-party services to, and we participate in industry co-ops that work to, detect malware and other content issues as well as click fraud (whether by humans or software known as “bots”) and to block fraudulent inventory, including “tool bar” inventory, which is inventory that appears within an application and displaces any advertising that would otherwise be displayed on the website. Despite such efforts, our clients may inadvertently purchase inventory that proves to be unacceptable for their campaigns, in which case we may not be able to recoup the amounts paid to inventory suppliers. Preventing and combating fraud is an industry-wide issue that requires constant vigilance, and we cannot guarantee that we will be successful in our efforts. Our clients could intentionally run campaigns that do not meet the standards of our inventory suppliers or attempt to use illegal or unethical targeting practices or seek to display advertising in jurisdictions that do not permit such advertising or in which the regulatory environment is uncertain, in which case our supply of ad inventory from such suppliers could be jeopardized. Some of our competitors undertake human review of content, but because our platform is self-service, and because such means are cost-intensive, we do not utilize all means available to decrease these risks. We may provide access to inventory that is objectionable to our advertisers, serve advertising that contains malware, objectionable content, or is based on questionable targeting criteria to our inventory suppliers, or be unable to detect and prevent non-human traffic, any one of which could harm our or our clients’ brand and reputation, decrease their trust in our platform, and negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our key employees, including Jeff T. Green, and our ability to attract, hire, retain and motivate highly skilled employees in the future.
Our future success depends on the continuing efforts of our executive officers and other key employees, including Jeff T. Green, our Chief Executive Officer. We rely on the leadership, knowledge, and experience that our executive officers provide. They foster our corporate culture, which has been instrumental to our ability to attract and retain new talent. We also rely on our ability to hire and retain qualified and motivated employees, particularly those employees in our product development, support, and sales teams that attract and keep key clients.
The market for talent in many of our areas of operations, including California and New York, is intensely competitive, as technology companies like ours compete to attract the best talent. As a business-to-business company, we do not have the same level of name recognition among potential recruits as business-to-consumer companies. Additionally, we have less experience with recruiting and less name recognition in geographies outside of the United States and may face additional challenges in attracting and retaining international employees. In addition, many companies now offer a remote or hybrid work environment, which may increase the competition for employees from employers outside of our traditional office locations. As a result, we may incur increasingly significant costs to attract and retain employees, including significant expenditures related to salaries and benefits and compensation expenses related to equity awards, and we may lose new employees to our competitors or other companies before we realize the benefit of our investment in recruiting and training them.
Employee turnover, including changes in our management team or failure to manage executive succession effectively, could disrupt our business. None of our key employees have an employment agreement for a specific term, and all of our employees may terminate their employment with us at any time. The loss of one or more of our executive officers or our inability to attract and retain highly skilled employees could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we fail to offer sufficient client training and support, our business and reputation would suffer.
Because we offer a self-service platform, client training and support is important for the successful marketing and continued use of our platform and for maintaining and increasing spend through our platform from existing and new clients. Providing this training and support requires that our platform operations personnel have specific domain knowledge and expertise along with the ability to train others, which makes it more difficult for us to hire qualified personnel and to scale up our support operations due to the extensive training required. The importance of high-quality client service will increase as we expand our business and pursue new clients. If we are not responsive and proactive regarding our clients’ advertising needs, or do not provide effective support for our clients’ advertising campaigns, our ability to retain our existing clients would suffer and our reputation with existing or potential clients would be harmed, which would negatively impact our business.
If the non-proprietary technology, software, products and services that we use are unavailable, have future terms we cannot agree to, or do not perform as we expect, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
We depend on various technology, software, products and services from third parties or available as open source, including data centers and API technology, payment processing, payroll and other technology and professional services, some of which are critical to the features and functionality of our platform. For example, in order for clients to target ads in ways they desire and otherwise optimize and verify campaigns, our platform must have access to data regarding Internet user behavior and reports with demographic information regarding Internet users. Identifying, negotiating, complying with and integrating with third-party terms and technology are complex, costly and time-consuming matters. Failure by third-party providers to maintain, support or secure their technology either generally or for our accounts specifically, or downtime, errors or defects in their products or services, could adversely impact our platform, our administrative obligations or other areas of our business. Having to replace any third-party providers or their technology, products or services could result in outages or difficulties in our ability to provide our services. If we are unsuccessful in establishing or maintaining our relationships with our third-party providers or otherwise need to replace them, internal resources may need to be diverted and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
Disruptions to service from our third-party data center hosting facilities and cloud computing and hosting providers could impair the delivery of our services and harm our business.
A significant portion of our business relies upon hardware and services that are hosted, managed and controlled by third-party co-location providers for our data centers, and we are dependent on these third parties to provide continuous power, cooling, Internet connectivity and physical and technological security for our servers. In the event that these third-party providers experience any interruption in operations or cease business for any reason, or if we are unable to agree on satisfactory terms for continued hosting relationships, we would be forced to enter into a relationship with other service providers or assume some hosting responsibilities ourselves. Even a disruption as brief as a few minutes could have a negative impact on marketplace activities and could result in a loss of revenue. These facilities may be located in areas prone to natural disasters and may experience catastrophic events such as earthquakes, fires, floods, power loss, telecommunications failures, public health crises and similar events. They may also be subject to break-ins, sabotage, intentional acts of vandalism, cyber-attacks and similar misconduct. Although we have made certain disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements, such events could cause damage to, or failure of, our systems generally, or those of the third-party cloud computing and hosting providers, which could result in disruptions to our service.
We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the human factor of inputting information into our platform.
Campaigns are set up using several variables available to our clients on our platform. While our platform includes several checks and balances, it is possible for human error to result in significant overspending. The system requires a daily cap at the ad group level. We also provide for the client to input daily and overall caps at the advertising inventory campaign level at their discretion. Additionally, we set a credit limit for each user so that they cannot spend beyond the level of credit risk we are willing to accept. Despite these protections, the ability for overspend exists. For example, campaigns which last for a period of time can be set to pace evenly or as quickly as possible. If a client with a high credit limit enters the wrong daily cap with a campaign set to a rapid pace, it is possible for a campaign to accidently go significantly over budget. While our client contracts state that clients are responsible for media purchased through our platform, we are ultimately responsible for paying the inventory providers, and we may be unable to collect from clients facing such issues, in which case our results of operations would be harmed.
We have international operations and plan to continue expanding abroad where we have more limited operating experience, which may subject us to additional cost and economic risks that can adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our international operations and expansion plans create challenges associated with supporting a rapidly growing business across a multitude of cultures, customs, monetary, legal and regulatory systems and commercial infrastructures. We have a limited operating history outside of the United States, and our ability to manage and expand our business and conduct our operations internationally requires considerable attention and resources.
We have personnel in countries within North America, Central America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and we are continuing to expand our international operations. Some of the countries into which we are, or potentially may, expand score unfavorably on the Corruption Perceptions Index (“CPI”) of the Transparency International. Our teams in locations outside the United States are substantially smaller than some of our teams in the United States. To the extent we are unable to effectively engage with non-U.S. advertising agencies or international divisions of U.S. agencies due to our limited sales force capacity, or we are unable to secure quality non-U.S. ad inventory and data on reasonable terms due to our limited inventory and data team capacity, we may be unable to effectively grow in international markets.
Our international operations and expansion subject us to a variety of additional risks, including:
•risks related to local advertising markets, where adoption of programmatic ad buying may be slower than in the United States, advertising buyers and inventory and data providers may be less familiar with demand-side platforms and our brand, and business models may not support our value proposition;
•exposure to public health issues and to travel restrictions and other measures undertaken by governments in response to such issues;
•risks related to compliance with local laws and regulations, including those relating to privacy, cybersecurity, data security, antitrust, data localization, anti-bribery, import and export controls, economic sanctions (including to existing and potential partners and clients), tax and withholding (including overlapping of different tax regimes), and varied labor and employment laws (including those relating to termination of employees); corporate formation, partnership, restrictions on foreign ownership or investment and other regulatory limitations or obligations on our operations (such as obtaining requisite licenses or other governmental requirements); and the increased administrative costs and risks associated with such compliance;
•operational and execution risk, and other challenges caused by distance, language and cultural differences, which may burden management, increase travel, infrastructure and legal compliance costs, and add complexity to our enforcement of advertising standards across languages and countries;
•geopolitical and social factors, such as concerns regarding negative, unstable or changing economic conditions in the countries and regions where we operate, recessions, armed conflicts and wars, political instability and trade disputes;
•risks related to pricing structure, payment and currency, including aligning our pricing model and payment terms with local norms, higher levels of credit risk and payment fraud, difficulties in invoicing and collecting in foreign currencies and associated foreign currency exposure, and difficulties in repatriating or transferring funds from or converting currencies; and
•reduced protection for intellectual property rights in some countries and practical difficulties in enforcing contractual and intellectual property rights abroad.
We have a U.K. entity through which we have entered into international client and partner agreements, including with those in the EU, which are governed by English Law, and some of our clients and partners pay us in British Pounds and Euros. We continue to face risks and potential disruptions related to the withdrawal of the U.K. from the EU, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” Although the U.K. and EU have entered into a trade and cooperation agreement, the long-term nature of the U.K.’s relationship with the EU remains unclear. For example, Brexit could affect transborder transactions generally, matters of taxation, transborder data flows, regulators’ jurisdiction over our business, volatility in foreign exchange markets with respect to the British Pound and Euro and other matters related to how we do business in the U.K. and EU. While we continue to monitor these developments, the full effect of Brexit on our operations is uncertain and our business could be harmed by trade disputes or political differences between the U.K. and EU in the future.
We may incur significant operating expenses as a result of our international operations and expansion, and we may not be successful. Our international business also subjects us to the impact of differing regulatory requirements, costs and difficulties in managing a distributed workforce, and potentially adverse tax consequences in the United States and abroad. If our international activities were found to be in violation of any existing or future international laws or regulations or if interpretations of those laws and regulations were to change, our business in those countries could be subject to fines and other financial penalties, have licenses revoked, or be forced to restructure operations or shut down entirely. In addition, advertising markets outside of the United States are not as developed as those within the United States, and we may be unable to grow our business sufficiently. Any failure to successfully manage the risks and challenges related to our international operations could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which may contain operating and financial covenants that restrict our business and financing activities.
We have entered into, and may in the future enter into, credit facilities which contain restrictions that limit our flexibility in operating our business. Our credit facility contains, and any future credit facility may contain, various covenants that limit our ability to engage in specified types of transactions. Subject to exceptions, these covenants limit our ability to, among other things:
•sell assets or make changes to the nature of our business;
•engage in mergers or acquisitions;
•incur, assume or permit additional indebtedness and guarantees;
•make restricted payments, including paying dividends on, repurchasing, redeeming or making distributions with respect to our capital stock;
•make specified investments;
•engage in transactions with our affiliates; and
•make payments in respect of subordinated debt.
Our obligations under our credit facility are collateralized by a pledge of substantially all of our assets, including accounts receivable, deposit accounts, intellectual property and investment property and equipment. The covenants in our credit facility may limit our ability to take actions and, in the event that we breach one or more covenants, our lenders may choose to declare an event of default and require that we immediately repay all amounts outstanding, terminate the commitment to extend further credit and foreclose on the collateral granted to them to collateralize such indebtedness, which includes our intellectual property. In addition, if we fail to meet the required covenants, we will not have access to further draw-downs under our credit facility.
If we do not effectively grow and train our sales and client service teams, we may be unable to add new clients or increase sales to our existing clients and our business will be adversely affected.
We are substantially dependent on our sales and client service teams to obtain new clients and to increase spend by our existing clients. We believe that there is significant competition for sales personnel with the skills and technical knowledge that we require. Our ability to achieve revenue growth will depend, in large part, on our success in recruiting, hiring, training, integrating and retaining sufficient numbers of sales personnel to support our growth in the United States and internationally. Due to the complexity of our platform, new hires require significant training, and it may take significant time before they achieve full productivity. Our account managers, for instance, need to be trained quickly on the features of our platform since failure to offer high-quality support may adversely affect our relationships with our clients. Our recent and planned hires may not become productive as quickly as we expect, and we may be unable to hire or retain sufficient numbers of qualified individuals in the markets where we do business or plan to do business. If we are unable to hire and train sufficient numbers of effective sales personnel, or the sales personnel are not successful in obtaining new clients or increasing our existing clients’ spend with us, our business will be adversely affected.
Our corporate culture has contributed to our success, and if we are unable to maintain it as we grow, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
We have experienced and may continue to experience rapid expansion of our employee ranks. We believe our corporate culture has been a key element of our success. However, as our organization grows and expands globally, it may be difficult to maintain our culture, which could reduce our ability to innovate and operate effectively. The failure to
maintain the key aspects of our culture as our organization grows could result in decreased employee satisfaction, increased difficulty in attracting top talent, increased turnover and could compromise the quality of our client service, all of which are important to our success and to the effective execution of our business strategy. In the event we are unable to maintain our corporate culture as we grow to scale, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be harmed.
Our proprietary rights may be difficult to enforce, which could enable others to copy or use aspects of our technology without compensating us, thereby eroding our competitive advantages and harming our business.
We rely upon a combination of trade secrets, third-party confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, additional contractual restrictions on disclosure and use, and trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property laws to establish and protect our proprietary rights. These laws, procedures and restrictions provide only limited protection. We currently have “theTradeDesk” and variants and other marks registered as trademarks or pending registrations in the United States and certain foreign countries. We also rely on copyright laws to protect computer programs related to our platform and our proprietary technologies, although to date we have not registered for statutory copyright protection. We have registered numerous Internet domain names in the United States and certain foreign countries related to our business. We endeavor to enter into agreements with our employees and contractors in order to limit access to and disclosure of our proprietary information, as well as to clarify rights to intellectual property associated with our business. Protecting our intellectual property is a challenge, especially after our employees or our contractors end their relationship with us, and, in some cases, decide to work for our competitors. Our contracts with our employees and contractors that relate to intellectual property issues generally restrict the use of our confidential information solely in connection with our services, and strictly prohibit reverse engineering. However, reverse engineering our software or the theft or misuse of our proprietary information could occur by employees or other third parties who have access to our technology. Enforceability of the non-compete agreements that we have in place is not guaranteed, and contractual restrictions could be breached without discovery or adequate remedies. Historically, we have prioritized keeping our technology architecture, trade secrets and engineering roadmap private, and as a general matter, have not patented our proprietary technology. As a result, we cannot look to patent enforcement rights to protect much of our proprietary technology. Furthermore, our patent strategy is still in its early stages. We may not be able to obtain any further patents, and our pending applications may not result in the issuance of patents. Any issued patents may be challenged, invalidated or circumvented, and any rights granted under these patents may not actually provide adequate defensive protection or competitive advantages to us. Additionally, the process of obtaining patent protection is expensive and time-consuming, and we may not be able to prosecute all necessary or desirable patent applications at a reasonable cost or in a timely manner.
Policing unauthorized use of our technology is difficult. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries may not be as protective of intellectual property rights as those of the United States, and mechanisms for enforcement of our proprietary rights in such countries may be inadequate. If we are unable to protect our proprietary rights (including in particular, the proprietary aspects of our platform) we may find ourselves at a competitive disadvantage to others who have not incurred the same level of expense, time and effort to create and protect their intellectual property.
We may be sued by third parties for alleged infringement of their proprietary rights, which would result in additional expense and potential damages.
There is significant patent and other intellectual property development activity in the digital advertising industry. Third-party intellectual property rights may cover significant aspects of our technologies or business methods or block us from expanding our offerings. Our success depends on the continual development of our platform. From time to time, we may receive claims from third parties that our platform and underlying technology infringe or violate such third parties’ intellectual property rights. To the extent we gain greater public recognition, we may face a higher risk of being the subject of intellectual property claims. The cost of defending against such claims, whether or not the claims have merit, is significant, regardless of whether we are successful in our defense, and could divert the attention of management, technical personnel and other employees from our business operations. Litigation regarding intellectual property rights is inherently uncertain due to the complex issues involved, and we may not be successful in defending ourselves in such matters. Additionally, we have obligations to indemnify our clients or inventory and data suppliers in connection with certain intellectual property claims. If we are found to infringe these rights, we could potentially be required to cease utilizing portions of our platform. We may also be required to develop alternative non-infringing technology, which could require significant time and expense. Additionally, we could be required to pay royalty payments, either as a one-time fee or ongoing, as well as damages for past use that was deemed to be infringing. If we cannot license or develop technology for any allegedly infringing aspect of our business, we would be forced to limit our service and may be unable to compete effectively. Any of these results could harm our business.
We face potential liability and harm to our business based on the nature of our business and the content on our platform.
Advertising often results in litigation relating to misleading or deceptive claims, copyright or trademark infringement, public performance royalties or other claims based on the nature and content of advertising that is distributed through our platform. Though we contractually require clients to generally represent to us that their advertisements comply with our ad standards and our inventory providers’ ad standards and that they have the rights necessary to serve advertisements through our platform, we do not independently verify whether we are permitted to deliver, or review the content of, such advertisements. If any of these representations are untrue, we may be exposed to potential liability and our reputation may be damaged. While our clients are typically obligated to indemnify us, such indemnification may not fully cover us, or we may not be able to collect. In addition to settlement costs, we may be responsible for our own litigation costs, which can be expensive.
We are subject to anti-bribery, anti-corruption and similar laws and non-compliance with such laws can subject us to criminal penalties or significant fines and harm our business and reputation.
We are subject to anti-bribery and similar laws, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, the U.S. domestic bribery statute contained in 18 U.S.C. § 201, the USA PATRIOT Act, U.S. Travel Act, the U.K. Bribery Act 2010 and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and possibly other anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws in countries in which we conduct business. Anti-corruption laws have been enforced with great rigor in recent years and are interpreted broadly. Such laws prohibit companies and their employees and their agents from making or offering improper payments or other benefits to government officials and others in the private sector. As we increase our international sales and business, particularly in countries with a low score on the CPI by Transparency International, and increase our use of third parties such as sales agents, distributors, resellers or consultants, our risks under these laws will increase. We adopt appropriate policies and procedures and conduct training, but cannot guarantee that improprieties will not occur. Noncompliance with these laws could subject us to investigations, sanctions, settlements, prosecution, other enforcement actions, disgorgement of profits, significant fines, damages, other civil and criminal penalties or injunctions, suspension and/or debarment from contracting with specified persons, the loss of export privileges, reputational harm, adverse media coverage, and other collateral consequences. Any investigations, actions and/or sanctions could have a material negative impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to governmental economic sanctions requirements and export and import controls that could impair our ability to compete in international markets or subject us to liability if we are not in compliance with applicable laws.
As a U.S. company, we are subject to U.S. export control and economic sanctions laws and regulations, and we are required to export our technology and services in compliance with those laws and regulations, including the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and economic embargo and trade sanctions programs administered by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws and regulations prohibit the shipment of specified products and services to countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions. While we take precautions to prevent doing any business, directly or indirectly, with countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions and to ensure that our technology and services are not exported or used by countries, governments and persons targeted by U.S. sanctions, such measures may be circumvented. There can be no assurance that we will be in compliance with U.S. export control or economic sanctions laws and regulations in the future. Any such violation could result in significant criminal or civil fines, penalties or other sanctions and repercussions, including reputational harm that could materially adversely impact our business.
Furthermore, if we export our technology, the exports may require authorizations, including a license, a license exception or other appropriate government authorization. Complying with export control and sanctions regulations may be time-consuming and may result in the delay or loss of opportunities.
In addition, various countries regulate the import of encryption technology, including the imposition of import permitting and licensing requirements, and have enacted laws that could limit our ability to offer our platform or could limit our clients’ ability to use our platform in those countries. Changes in our platform or future changes in export and import regulations may create delays in the introduction of our platform in international markets or prevent our clients with international operations from deploying our platform globally. Any change in export or import regulations, economic sanctions or related legislation, or change in the countries, governments, persons, or technologies targeted by such regulations, could result in decreased use of our platform by, or in our decreased ability to export our technology and services to, existing or potential clients with international operations. Any decreased use of our platform or limitation on our ability to export our platform would likely adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Class A Common Stock
The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile or may decline regardless of our operating performance, and you may not be able to resell your shares at or above your purchase price.
The market price of our stock and of equity securities of technology companies has historically experienced high levels of volatility. If you purchase shares of our Class A common stock, you may not be able to resell those shares at or above your purchase price. The market price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated and may fluctuate significantly in response to numerous factors, some of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance, including:
•announcements of new offerings, products, services or technologies, commercial relationships, acquisitions, or other events by us or our competitors;
•price and volume fluctuations in the overall stock market from time to time;
•significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of technology companies in general and of companies in the digital advertising industry in particular;
•fluctuations in the trading volume of our shares or the size of our public float;
•trading activity in our share repurchase program;
•actual or anticipated changes or fluctuations in our results of operations;
•whether our results of operations meet the expectations of securities analysts or investors;
•actual or anticipated changes in the expectations of investors or securities analysts;
•litigation involving us, our industry, or both;
•regulatory developments in the United States, foreign countries, or both;
•general economic conditions and trends;
•terrorist attacks, political upheaval, natural disasters, war, public health crises, or other major catastrophic events;
•sales of large blocks of our common stock;
•departures of key employees; or
•an adverse impact on us from any of the other risks cited herein.
In addition, if the stock market for technology companies, or the stock market generally, experiences a loss of investor confidence, the trading price of our Class A common stock could decline for reasons unrelated to our business, financial condition or results of operations. Stock prices of many technology companies have fluctuated in a manner unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of those companies. The trading price of our Class A common stock might also decline in reaction to events that affect other companies in our industry even if these events do not directly affect us. In the past, stockholders have filed securities class action litigation following periods of market volatility. If we were to become involved in securities litigation, it could subject us to substantial costs, divert resources and the attention of management from our core business, and adversely affect our business.
Substantial future sales of shares of our common stock could cause the market price of our Class A common stock to decline.
The market price of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of substantial sales of our common stock, particularly sales by our directors, executive officers and significant stockholders, or the perception in the market that holders of a large number of shares intend to sell their shares.
Additionally, our directors, executive officers, employees and, in certain instances, service providers, hold shares of common stock subject to outstanding options, restricted stock awards and restricted stock units under our equity incentive plans. Those shares and the shares reserved for future issuance under our equity incentive plans are and will become eligible for sale in the public market, subject to certain legal and contractual limitations.
Certain holders of our common stock have rights, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering their shares or to include their shares in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or our stockholders.
Insiders have substantial control over our company, including as a result of the dual class structure of our common stock, which could limit your ability to influence the outcome of key decisions, including a change of control.
Our Class B common stock has ten votes per share and our Class A common stock has one vote per share. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common stock, the holders of our Class B common stock collectively have substantial control of the combined voting power of our common stock. Our certificate of incorporation provides that all Class B common stock will convert automatically into Class A common stock on December 22, 2025, unless converted prior to such date. As of September 30, 2023, stockholders who held shares of Class B common stock, including our executive officers, employees, and directors and their affiliates, together held approximately 49.7% of the voting power of our outstanding capital stock. This concentrated control limits or precludes your ability to influence corporate matters, as the holders of Class B common stock are able to influence or substantially control matters requiring approval by our stockholders, including the election of the directors, excluding the director we have designated as a Class A director, and the approval of mergers, acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions. Their interests may differ from yours and they may vote in a manner that is adverse to your interests. This ownership concentration may deter, delay or prevent a change of control of our company, deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and may ultimately affect the market price of our common stock. Furthermore, in connection with the amendments to our certificate of incorporation and related matters voted on at the Special Meeting of Stockholders held on December 22, 2020, we have become subject to legal proceedings and could become involved in additional litigation, including securities class action claims and/or derivative litigation. Any such legal proceedings, regardless of outcome or merit, may divert management’s time and attention and may result in the incurrence of significant expense, including legal fees. For additional information regarding the pending legal proceeding, refer to Legal Proceedings.
Transfers by holders of Class B common stock will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common stock, subject to limited exceptions, such as transfers effected for estate planning or charitable purposes. However, until the conversion of all outstanding shares of Class B common stock, the conversion of Class B common stock to Class A common stock will have the effect, over time, of increasing the voting power of those holders of Class B common stock who retain their shares in the long term.
Our charter documents and Delaware law could discourage takeover attempts and other corporate governance changes.
Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws contain provisions that could delay or prevent a change in control of our company. These provisions could also make it difficult for stockholders to elect directors that are not nominated by the current members of our board of directors or take other corporate actions, including effecting changes in our management. These provisions include the following provisions:
•permit the board of directors to establish the number of directors and fill any vacancies and newly created directorships;
•provide that our board of directors will be classified into three classes with staggered, three-year terms and that directors may only be removed for cause;
•require super-majority voting to amend certain provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws;
•authorize the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock that our board of directors could use to implement a stockholder rights plan;
•specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors, the chairman of our board of directors, our chief executive officer, or a stockholder that has held at least 20% of our outstanding shares of common stock continuously for one year;
•provide that the board of directors is expressly authorized to make, alter or repeal our bylaws;
•provide that vacancies on our board of directors may be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum;
•prohibit cumulative voting in the election of directors;
•restrict the forum for certain litigation against us to Delaware;
•permit our board of directors to alter our bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;
•reflect the dual class structure of our common stock, as discussed above; and
•establish advance notice requirements for nominations for election to our board of directors or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at annual stockholder meetings.
In addition, as a Delaware corporation, we are subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. These provisions may prohibit large stockholders, in particular those owning 15% or more of our outstanding voting stock, from merging or combining with us for a period of time.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for substantially all disputes between us and our stockholders, which limits our stockholders’ ability to choose other forums for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our certificate of incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the sole and exclusive forum for: (1) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf; (2) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty by any of our directors, officers, employees, or our stockholders owed to us or our stockholders; (3) any action asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law, our certificate of incorporation or our bylaws, or as to which the Delaware General Corporation Law confers jurisdiction on the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware; or (4) any action asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in other judicial forums for disputes with us or our directors, officers, or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees in jurisdictions other than Delaware. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could have a material adverse effect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.
We cannot guarantee that our share repurchase program will be fully consummated, that it will enhance long-term stockholder value, or that it will successfully mitigate the dilutive effect of employee equity awards. Share repurchases diminish our cash reserves and could also increase the volatility of the trading price of our Class A common stock.
While our board of directors authorized a share repurchase program that does not have an expiration date, the program does not obligate us to acquire any particular amount of Class A common stock and it may be terminated at any time. We cannot guarantee that the program will be fully consummated, that it will enhance long-term stockholder value, or that it will successfully mitigate the dilutive effect of employee equity awards. Any repurchases will reduce the amount of cash we have available to fund working capital, capital expenditures, strategic acquisitions or business opportunities, and other general corporate requirements. In addition, the program could affect the trading price of our Class A common stock and increase volatility, and any announcement of a termination of this program may result in a decrease in the trading price of our Class A common stock.
General Risk Factors
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting in the future, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations. If our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, it may adversely affect investor confidence in us and the price of our common stock.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal control. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”) requires that we evaluate and determine the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and provide a management report on internal control over financial reporting.
Our platform system applications are complex, multi-faceted and include applications that are highly customized in order to serve and support our clients, advertising inventory and data suppliers, as well as support our financial reporting obligations. We regularly make improvements to our platform to maintain and enhance our competitive position. In the future, we may implement new offerings and engage in business transactions, such as acquisitions, reorganizations or implementation of new information systems.
These factors require us to develop and maintain our internal controls, processes and reporting systems, and we expect to incur ongoing costs in this effort. We may not be successful in developing and maintaining effective internal controls, and
any failure to develop or maintain effective controls, or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement, could harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations and may result in a restatement of our financial statements for prior periods.
If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, we will be unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. If we are unable to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, if our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, or if we are unable to comply with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, then, we may be late with the filing of our periodic reports, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected. Such failures could also subject us to investigations by Nasdaq, the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, and to litigation from stockholders, which could harm our reputation, financial condition or divert financial and management resources from our core business.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert our management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain qualified board members.
As a public company, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, and are required to comply with the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the listing requirements of Nasdaq, and other applicable securities rules and regulations. Compliance with these rules and regulations increases our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming or costly and increase demand on our systems and resources. Among other things, the Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and results of operations and maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. Significant resources and management oversight are required to maintain and, if required, improve our disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting to meet this standard. As a result, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could harm our business and results of operations.
Exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations could negatively impact our results of operations.
While the majority of the transactions through our platform are denominated in U.S. Dollars, we have transacted in foreign currencies, both for inventory and data and for payments by clients from use of our platform. We also have expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar. Given our anticipated international growth, we expect the number of transactions in a variety of foreign currencies to continue to grow in the future. While we generally require a fee from our clients that pay in non-U.S. currency, this fee may not always cover foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. In addition, for those clients that pay in non-U.S. currency, we often pay for the advertising inventory and data purchased by such clients in U.S. Dollars. As a result, any increase in the value of the U.S. Dollar against these foreign currencies could cause our revenue to decline relative to our costs. Although we currently have a program to hedge exposure to foreign currency fluctuations, the use of hedging instruments may not be available for all currencies or may not always offset losses resulting from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. Moreover, the use of hedging instruments can itself result in losses if we are unable to structure effective hedges with such instruments.
Future acquisitions, strategic investments or alliances could disrupt our business and harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We explore, on an ongoing basis, potential acquisitions of companies or technologies, strategic investments, or alliances to strengthen our business, however, we have limited experience in acquiring and integrating businesses, products and technologies. Even if we identify an appropriate acquisition candidate, we may not be successful in negotiating the terms or financing of the acquisition, and our due diligence may fail to identify all of the problems, liabilities or other shortcomings or challenges of an acquired business, product or technology, including issues related to intellectual property, product quality or architecture, regulatory compliance practices, revenue recognition or other accounting practices or employee or client issues. Acquisitions involve numerous risks, any of which could harm our business, including:
•anticipated benefits may not materialize;
•diversion of management time and focus from operating our business to addressing acquisition integration challenges;
•retention of employees from the acquired company;
•cultural challenges associated with integrating employees from the acquired company into our organization;
•integration of the acquired company’s products and technology;
•integration of the acquired company’s accounting, management information, human resources and other administrative systems;
•the need to implement or improve controls, procedures and policies at a business that, prior to the acquisition, may have lacked effective controls, procedures and policies;
•coordination of product development and sales and marketing functions;
•liability for activities of the acquired company before the acquisition, including relating to privacy and data security, patent and trademark infringement claims, violations of laws, commercial disputes, tax liabilities and other known and unknown liabilities; and
•litigation or other claims in connection with the acquisition, including claims from terminated employees, users, former stockholders or other third parties.
Failure to appropriately mitigate these risks or other issues related to such acquisitions and strategic investments could result in reducing or completely eliminating any anticipated benefits of transactions, and harm our business generally. Future acquisitions could also result in dilutive issuances of our equity securities, the incurrence of debt, contingent liabilities, amortization expenses or the impairment of goodwill, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may not be able to secure additional financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs, which may in turn impair our growth.
We intend to continue to grow our business, which will require additional capital to develop new features or enhance our platform, improve our operating infrastructure, finance working capital requirements, or acquire complementary businesses and technologies. We cannot assure you that our business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available to us under our existing credit facility in an amount sufficient to fund our working capital needs. Accordingly, we may need to engage in additional equity or debt financings to secure additional capital. We cannot assure you that we would be able to locate additional financing on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Any debt financing that we secure in the future could involve restrictive covenants relating to our capital raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities. If our cash flows and credit facility borrowings are insufficient to fund our working capital requirements, we may not be able to grow at the rate we currently expect or at all. In addition, in the absence of sufficient cash flows from operations, we might be unable to meet our obligations under our credit facility, and we may therefore be at risk of default thereunder. If we raise additional funds through future issuances of equity or convertible debt securities, our existing stockholders could suffer significant dilution, and any new equity securities we issue could have rights, preferences and privileges superior to those of holders of our common stock. If we are unable to secure additional funding on favorable terms, or at all, when we require it, our ability to continue to grow our business to react to market conditions could be impaired and our business may be harmed.
Our tax liabilities may be greater than anticipated.
The U.S. and non-U.S. tax laws applicable to our business activities are subject to interpretation and are changing. We are subject to audit by the Internal Revenue Service and by taxing authorities of the state, local and foreign jurisdictions in which we operate. Our tax obligations are based in part on our corporate operating structure, including the manner in which we develop, value, use and hold our intellectual property, the jurisdictions in which we operate, how tax authorities assess revenue-based taxes such as sales and use taxes, the scope of our international operations and the value we ascribe to our intercompany transactions. Taxing authorities may challenge, and have challenged, our tax positions and methodologies for valuing developed technology or intercompany arrangements, positions regarding the collection of sales and use taxes, and the jurisdictions in which we are subject to taxes, which could expose us to additional taxes. Any adverse outcomes of such challenges to our tax positions could result in additional taxes for prior periods, interest and penalties, as well as higher future taxes. In addition, our future tax expense could increase as a result of changes in tax laws, regulations or accounting principles, or as a result of earning income in jurisdictions that have higher tax rates. For example, the European Commission has proposed, and various jurisdictions, including a number of states in the United
States, are considering enacting or have enacted laws that impose separate taxes on specified digital services, which may increase our tax obligations in such jurisdictions. Any increase in our tax expense could have a negative effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Moreover, the determination of our provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities requires significant estimates and judgment by management, and the tax treatment of certain transactions is uncertain. Any changes, ambiguity, or uncertainty in taxing jurisdictions’ administrative interpretations, decisions, policies and positions, including, the position of taxing authorities with respect to revenue generated by reference to certain digital services, could also materially impact our income tax liabilities. Although we believe we will make reasonable estimates and judgments, the ultimate outcome of any particular issue may differ from the amounts previously recorded in our financial statements and any such occurrence could materially affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds.
Sales of Unregistered Securities
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The following table summarizes share repurchase activity for the three months ended September 30, 2023:
Total Number of Shares Purchased(1)
Average Price Paid Per Share(2)
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Programs(1)
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs(1)
|(in thousands)||(in thousands)||(in millions)|
|July 1-31||— ||$||— ||— ||$||364 |
|August 1-31||983 ||$||73.53 ||983 ||$||291 |
|September 1-30||211 ||$||84.78 ||211 ||$||273 |
|1,194 ||1,194 |
(1) On February 15, 2023, we announced that our board of directors approved a share repurchase program with authorization to repurchase up to $700 million our Class A common stock, which commenced in February 2023 and has no expiration date. The share repurchase program is designed to help offset the impact of future share dilution from employee stock issuances. Repurchases under the program may be made in the open market, in privately negotiated transactions or otherwise, with the amount and timing of repurchases determined at our discretion, depending on market conditions and corporate needs. Open market repurchases are structured to occur in accordance with applicable federal securities laws, including within the pricing and volume requirements of Rule 10b-18 under the Exchange Act. We may also, from time to time, enter into Rule 10b5-1 plans to facilitate repurchases of its shares under this authorization. The program does not obligate us to acquire a minimum amount of Class A common stock, and may be modified, suspended or terminated at any time at the discretion of our board of directors. See Note 7—Capitalization in Part I, Item 1 of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for additional information related to share repurchases.
(2) Excludes other costs such as broker commissions and the accrued excise tax imposed by the IRA.
Item 5. Other Information
Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plans
Our Section 16 officers and directors (as defined in Rule 16a-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the “Exchange Act”) may from time to time enter into plans for the purchase or sale of Company stock that are intended to satisfy the affirmative defense conditions of Rule 10b5-1(c) under the Exchange Act. During the quarter ended September 30, 2023, none of our Section 16 officers or directors adopted, modified or terminated “Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangements” (as defined in Item 408 of Regulation S-K).
During the quarter ended September 30, 2023, none of our Section 16 officers or directors adopted or terminated a “non-Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement” (as defined in Item 408 of Regulation S-K).
Item 6. Exhibits
Indicates a management contract or compensatory plan or arrangement.
(1)The information in this exhibit is furnished and deemed not filed with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and is not to be incorporated by reference into any filing of The Trade Desk, Inc. under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, whether made before or after the date hereof, regardless of any general incorporation language in such filing.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized.
|THE TRADE DESK, INC.|
Dated: November 9, 2023
|/s/ Laura Schenkein|
|Chief Financial Officer|
(Principal Financial and Accounting Officer)