Asian telco SingTel is buying US mobile advertising firm Amobee for $321m (£203m). SingTel says the acquisition will enable it to help brands better reach their target audience and deliver relevant offers, rewards and promotions to customers. It intends to become not only the leading mobile advertising company in Asia Pacific, but also among the top three worldwide. SingTel has 434m mobile customers in 25 countries, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.
Allen Lew, CEO Group Digital L!fe (designate) at SingTel, says: “The mobile advertising market is nascent and has significant potential for mobile operators, who are able to provide differentiated solutions across smartphones and feature phones, giving brands a better return on their marketing spend. We want to capture that growth in developed and emerging markets, starting with this acquisition. SingTel brings better value to customers as they are in control of the promotional message they receive. Likewise for brands, they will be able to reach out to the customers who are interested in their products and minimise wastage of ad spend.”
And addressing a news conference, Lew denied that SingTel was paying over the odds for Amobee, which, as of November 2011, had unaudited net assets of only $600,000. “The way we value this company is not based on the net tangible assets,” said Lew. “We value this company based on what we think is eventually going to be worth.”
Amobee was founded in 2005. Its mobile advertising platform serves operators, publishers, advertisers and agencies. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Amobee’s management team will remain in active control of the company.
Amobee CEO Trevor Healy says: “We are delighted to partner SingTel to continue our leadership in mobile advertising. SingTel and Amobee have a shared a vision of the future of mobile marketing and by leveraging each other’s strengths, we will be able to advance the industry on a global scale at a faster pace.”
David Murphy writes:
And so the consolidation in the mobile advertising space continues, though this deal looks somewhat different to most that have gone before. To date, most of the big ad network deals have seen mobile ad specialists bought by handset makers/platform providers (Apple/Quattro, Google/AdMob, and looking further back, Microsoft/ScreenTonic and Nokia/Enpocket). Here we have a pureplay telco, with a large mobile customer base, looking to make its mark in the space. How the deal will affect Amobee’s wider relationships with other telco and non-telco customers is at present unclear, but we will endeavour to find out.