Media.net Acquired by Chinese Consortium for $900M in 3rd Largest Ad Tech Deal Ever
Acquisition will fuel Media.net’s global expansion strategy and provide access to China’s world-class talent and capital markets
Media.net, a key player in the ad-tech space, announced today the closing of its acquisition by a Chinese Consortium from serial internet entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia's Starbuster TMT Investments in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $900M USD.
The Consortium is led by Mr. Zhiyong Zhang, the chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology Co. Ltd. (SZ. 300038), a technology, media and telecom (TMT) business listed on the GEM Board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. This completes the first step toward Media.net being acquired by, and integrated into, Beijing-based Miteno.
Media.net is a large, growing and profitable business with 2015 IFRS revenue of $232M. It currently manages more than $450M of annual advertising revenue via its platform, more than 50 percent of which is generated from mobile users. Ninety percent of Media.net’s total revenue comes from the U.S. With seven offices worldwide, including global headquarters in Dubai, and U.S. headquarters in New York City, Media.net has more than 800 employees, up from 650 in 2015.
"Our team has spent the last several years putting together one of the most comprehensive platforms for ad tech, and we are just getting started,” said Div Turakhia, Media.net’s founder and CEO. “The acquisition will enable Media.net to be an even greater platform for innovation and investment on a global scale. Together, we can accelerate the company's growth and deploy new products and services that will add value for our customers. Media.net’s leadership team and employees are excited to enter into this new phase of growth.”
A serial entrepreneur with a proven track record of performance, Div Turakhia has had several lucrative exits prior to this deal. In 2014, Endurance International Group (NASDAQ:EIGI) bought four brands that he co-founded with his brother, Bhavin Turakhia, for approximately $160M. Div Turakhia started his first internet business in 1996 at age 14, made his first $1M at 18, first $100M at 23, and now crossed his first $1B at the age of 34.
“Online advertising continues to be a double-digit growth industry, despite already being one of the largest revenue-generating businesses online. However, the ad-tech industry is notoriously compartmentalized and fractured across technologies, companies and geographies. It is impossible for publishers and advertisers to work with single-feature or single-product vendors without losing material efficiencies and increasing costs,” said Mr. Zhiyong Zhang. “In evaluating this deal, we looked at Media.net’s smart investments over many years to build a large and comprehensive technology stack to escape these trends. Media.net has a proven track record of year-over-year growth, superior technology and solid position to continue to grow in the future. The company’s success in the U.S., which is arguably the world’s most competitive ad-tech market, is impressive. We look forward to propelling Media.net’s growth in China.”
“Chairman Zhang is a proven TMT leader with deep connections throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” Turakhia continued. “Together with his team, access to China’s world-class talent and capital markets, we will radically enhance our development pipeline, and further improve our operational efficiencies to better serve our customers across the globe. Further, we look forward to launching our various products in the highly lucrative China market.”
Media.net will continue to operate under Div Turakhia and its current management team and retain the business model and culture that have fueled the company’s success. The business has significant growth and upside opportunities globally.
Div and Bhavin Turakhia led the overall transaction process, with Bhavin running the lengthy and complex legal negotiations in China. “The business received a lot of interest – seven bidders from around the world,” said Bhavin Turakhia. “During the intensive phases there were twenty-plus lawyers in a room and the excitement was palpable. I am excited about being able to get back to launching and growing the new startups that I have been working on.”
The deal positions Media.net to grow, innovate and develop new technologies and features at a faster pace. It will provide significant value by accelerating Media.net’s entry in the vast and expanding Chinese ad tech market, currently the world's second largest with expectations of significant growth in online ad spend. The company expects to see opportunities to grow from the new customer base. Additionally, access to China capital markets will provide Media.net opportunities to grow organically and to acquire businesses of all sizes worldwide, including in the U.S. and China.
The transaction is now closed, with $426M being paid by the Consortium, and the rest to follow as per the agreed payment schedule and definitive agreement. The money from the sale will go in to diversified pool of global investment funds co-owned by Divyank Turakhia and Bhavin Turakhia.
Transaction advisors for Media.net were: CVCapital as overall and primary financial advisor and exclusive banker for the PRC region; BofA Merrill Lynch as overall financial advisor; Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP as legal advisor; and KPMG as transaction advisor.
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