Mobile In-App Video Ads Platform Vungle Is Selling to Blackstone

One source put the deal at $750 million

The acquisition poises Vungle to expand further into mobile gaming.
Blackstone, Vungle

Private equity firm Blackstone has reached a deal to acquire the in-app advertising platform Vungle.

The deal, announced Monday by the companies, will expand Vungle’s presence in the mobile gaming space. According to CEO Rick Tallman, selling to Blackstone will allow the company to “further accelerate Vungle’s mission to be the trusted guide for growth and engagement, transforming how users discover and experience mobile apps.”

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but a person familiar with the deal said Blackstone paid $750 million in cash.

As a part of the deal, Vungle also reached an undisclosed settlement agreement with co-founder Zain Jaffer, who filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company in March. Vungle fired Jaffer in 2017 soon after he was arrested on charges that were later dropped.

Jaffer declined to comment about the acquisition or settlement but said in a statement the deal was “a historic day for Vungle, its employees and investors.”

“Vungle became an attractive acquisition target because of its large revenue and profits, which wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless work of so many people,” Jaffer said. “A number of the early Vungle team members, who joined the company soon after it was founded in London in 2011, are still fulfilling key roles at the Company today. I am happy they are being rewarded for their hard work and loyalty.”

Founded in London in 2011 by Jaffer and Jack Smith, Vungle works with more than 60,000 mobile apps worldwide including companies like Pandora, Microsoft and Angry Birds maker Rovio. Now based in San Francisco with offices in London, Berlin, Beijing, Tokyo and elsewhere, the company serves more than 4 billion video views monthly to over 1 billion unique devices.

Acquisitions have been a trend in the advertising and marketing technology sector this year. In the spring, Centerbridge Partners acquired IBM’s Watson Marketing that recently rebranded as Acoustic. In June, Fluent acquired AdParlor, and in May, LinkedIn acquired Drawbridge.

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