- Performance-marketing platforms Liftoff and Vungle are merging to create one of the largest independent ad tech companies in the mobile advertising space, according to a press release. The new company aims to address the full mobile app growth cycle, from user acquisition and engagement to app marketing, analytics, and monetization.
- Liftoff CEO Mark Ellis will lead the combined company as CEO while Vungle CEO Jeremy Bondy will serve as president. The deal follows prior majority investments in both companies from private equity funds managed by Blackstone.
- Liftoff and Vungle's merger, which is expected to close at the end of September, comes on the heels of significant consolidation in the ad tech industry.
The recent run of dealmaking in the ad tech world — such as Mediaocean's acquisition of Flashtalking and Magnite's closed buy of SpotX — shows no signs of stopping, with Liftoff and Vungle the latest to strike a deal. The two companies currently operate as complementary partners within the marketing ecosystem, per the announcement, each with histories of providing solutions to enhance the effectiveness and monetization of mobile apps and games.
On the demand side, Liftoff's technology helps mobile app marketers acquire and retain users, delivering 2 billion ads each day around the globe across more than 550,000 mobile apps through machine learning, prediction and creative optimization.
Vungle, on the supply side, operates a large platform that lets more than 100,000 mobile app developers and publishers monetize their apps, in addition to an influencer marketing platform with more than 15,000 content creators.
In merging the two, the strategy is to create an end-to-end platform that improves the effectiveness of mobile advertising and offers greater scale and tech for developers to build, advertise and monetize their apps. The merger will accelerate key growth initiatives for both companies, per the announcement.
Global investment business Blackstone acquired a majority stake in Vungle for $750 million in 2019, and last winter started investing nearly $400 million in Liftoff. The latest merger signals Blackstone's focus on digital ad tech and content, according to the announcement, and follows other investments led by its flagship private equity funds, including bets on Simpli.fi, Ancestry and Bumble. Blackstone will continue its role as majority shareholder in the newly combined company.
Meanwhile, mobile marketing and monetization businesses are going through a round of consolidation this year, as evidenced by Vungle snapping up mobile analytics company GameRefinery in March. By controlling both the demand and supply sides, the new Liftoff-Vungle company may appeal to app developers who don't want to depend on ad tech giants like Facebook and Google.