InMobi Purchases an Ad-Tech Unit From Sprint to Strengthen Its Marketing Cloud

All-stock deal for Pinsight Media comes amid wider strategic partnership

Sprint is in the process of a proposed merger with T-Mobile Getty Images
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InMobi is purchasing Pinsight Media from U.S. telecom Sprint with an all-stock deal as part of a wider partnership, a deal that comes amid a spate of relationships between telecoms and ad-tech companies.

The pair have pledged that the wider partnership will create a “U.S. advertising powerhouse” and comes as Sprint prepares to merge with fellow U.S. telecom T-Mobile as the industry prepares for 5G technology.

Founded in 2012, Pinsight Media was a subsidiary of Sprint that helped marketers better understand their customer base through its core assets of data-led audience insights, such as location data, across a number of verticals.

The acquisition of Pinsight builds on InMobi’s ambitions of further establishing itself in the world of mobile ad tech, by adding data management platform to the “InMobi Marketing Cloud” according to the company.

“By combining network-level mobile data with data from mobile applications and mobile web browsers, InMobi will provide CMOs an integrated end-to-end view of consumers, surpassing other platforms in the industry,” read a statement announcing the deal.

Rob Roy, chief digital officer at Sprint, said, “We have been looking for a strategic partner that can deliver the latest digital marketing and mobile advertising technologies, besides having a deep appreciation of regulatory, privacy, and data concerns.”

Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO at InMobi, said the deal would help it unify its online and offline data in order to help marketers with better audience insights, adding that it would provide a “global template for partnerships between advertising platforms and telcos.”

The deal follows InMobi’s acquisition of AerServ for $90 million in January and its recent partnership with Microsoft in June, and comes amid a wider climate of mergers and acquisitions in the ad-tech space.

The most recent high-profile examples of such a deal includes the purchase of Videology by Amobee (an ad-tech unit owned by Singapore telecom Singtel) and most famously AT&T’s $1.6 billion purchase of AppNexus to form Xandr.

Rival telecoms are positioning themselves different in the market, especially when it comes to the prospect of incorporating ad tech to their list of interests and the upcoming opportunities posed by 5G.

Speaking with Adweek, Elgin Thompson, DCA Capital Advisors, managing director, said Sprint and T-Mobile are likely looking to offload anything that is not core to their telecoms business–a theory that many have about Verizon Wireless’ treatment of Oath.

“If it’s an all-stock deal, it’s likely a scenario where InMobi has the upper hand in the transaction,” he added.

Thompson went on to add that a partnership between the telecom and InMobi would likely aid the ad-tech company’s ambitions in mobile advertising, especially as the Sprint audience insights would better help it avoid privacy woes in an environment where regulators are doubling down on privacy.

@ronan_shields Ronan Shields is a programmatic reporter at Adweek, focusing on ad-tech.