Sony Pictures Television buying majority stake in Miami-based IMS

Sony Pictures Television will buy a majority stake in Miami-based IMS Internet Media Services, one of Latin America's largest digital ad sales and media buying firms. The agreement, announced Wednesday morning by Andy Kaplan, president of worldwide networks for SPT, and Gaston Taratuta, CEO and founder of IMS, is is expected to close in several weeks pending regulatory approval.

Terms of the majority stake were not disclosed although a spokeswoman said it was a nine-digit transaction. Taratuta will continue as CEO; Ignacio Vidaguren as COO; Maren Lau as CMO; and Mariano Roman as CCO, and no significant changes to the business are currently planned, the companies said.

Founded a decade ago, IMS, the largest independent digital ad sales company in Latin America and the largest digital media buyer in the region, has offices in 11 Latin American coutries in addition to its Miami headquarters. The digital marketing and communications company partners with businesses seeking to expand into and within Latin America, including Waze, Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify, Crackle, iAds and Foursquare.

“SPT combines powerful programming with an international infrastructure and a leading leadership team,” said Taratuta. “We look forward to the synergies these will bring to joint initiatives within Latin America and new regions.”

In a region where mobile connections outnumber the population, the digital ad sales outlook for Latin America is poised for double-digit growth over the next five years, IMS said. According to an IMS Latin American study conducted with comScore, more than 60 percent of users of mobile apps such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Spotify and Waze consider that these apps are very important in day-to-day life. Nearly all online Latin Americans – 99 percent – utilize apps and have downloaded an average of 18 of them, the study found.

"We will integrate practices and intelligence with our networks and ad sales teams in the region and globally, making this an excellent extension of our current business,” said Kaplan.