Chinese Firm To Acquire Smaato For $148 Million

Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication Group, a Beijing-based offline marketing service provider, has proposed a $148 million buyout of San Francisco-based mobile supply-side (SSP) ad platform Smaato.

Chinese investors already made waves this year when it was announced that mobile marketer Opera Mediaworks was going to be purchased for $1.2 billion by a Chinese conglomerate. Chinese mobile ad firm Mobvista purchased NativeX for $25 million a few months ago, as well.

Smaato CEO and co-founder Ragnar Kruse said in a statement that Smaato will allow Spearhead to expand more quickly outside of China, while the acquisition will allow Smaato access to the Chinese market.

Smaato already reaches 1 billion unique mobile users a month outside of China, and will be well positioned to access some of China’s 1.3 billion mobile users. The move will also help bring Spearhead’s mobile ad capabilities up to steam.

The company will still have a lot of agency under the umbrella of a foreign company and will be able to make their own acquisitions in the future.

One of Smaato’s main VC investors passed away last year, causing a major source of funding to dry up. Smaato searched for new investors or buyers for a while, then found a willing one in Spearhead.

The purchase is still subject to regulatory approvals. However, it does highlight an interesting trend this year of major acquisitions coming from China.

Tags: china, m&a, mobile
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