Commentary

Mobile M&A Keeps Rolling

AdMarvel

The hot M&A market in mobile advertising continues with Norwegian browser maker Opera Software today announcing it's acquiring San Mateo, Calif.-based startup .

Never heard of it? Launched in 2006, AdMarvel works with mobile publishers, carriers, ad networks, agencies and advertisers to optimize ad inventory and revenue. Its services work across mobile web, WAP, SMS and applications. Opera said the move would allow it to provide ad monetization services for its mobile browser products and services offered by operators and content partners.

The reported purchase price of $8 million, plus $15 million in cash if certain financial goals are met in the next two years, is nowhere near the $750 million Google bid for AdMob or the $275 million Apple is said to be paying for Quattro Wireless. But it continues a steady pattern of mobile ad deals that most recently saw Amobee buying UK-based mobile ad exchange RingRing Media for an undisclosed amount.

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That AdMarvel and RingRing acquisitions also highlight the international nature of the mobile business, suggesting borders won't be a barrier to transactions. In that vein, it's not hard to see a company like SMS GupShup, which just secured another $12 million in venture funding, become a target for a larger company looking to enter the mobile market in India. SMS GupShup runs a text messaging-based social networking service in India with 26 million users and has already forged a partnership with Facebook.

And with companies like Apple and Opera, not previously focused on mobile advertising, getting into the business, it's not easy to predict where the next mobile ad deal will come from on the acquiring side. Just don't be surprised if they continue through the year

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