Indian serial entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia said he closed the sale of his Dubai-based global ad-tech company Media.net in a $900 million cash deal, to a Chinese consortium led by Zhiyong Zhang, chairman of Beijing Miteno Communication Technology Co. Ltd. (SZSE: 300038), a technology, media and telecom (TMT) business. $426 million are said to have been paid upfront, with the balance to follow in installments.
“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.
Media.net will continue to operate under Turakhia and its current management team and retain the business model and culture that have fueled the company’s success.
Media.net, founded in 2010, is a leading global advertising technology company that develops innovative products for both publishers and advertisers. The startup has made substantial investments in its business and built one of the most comprehensive portfolios of advertising technology in the industry across search, mobile, display, native, local, products and video, it says. Its platform and products are reportedly licensed by some of the largest publishers, ad networks and other ad tech companies worldwide.
Media.net is a growing and profitable business with 2015 IFRS revenue of $232 million, it says. It currently manages more than $450 million of annual advertising revenue through its platform, more than half 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.
“By market cap, Media.net is one of the top 5 largest ad tech companies worldwide. By revenue, Media.net is the second largest contextual advertising business worldwide,” the company says.
“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 Miteno’s 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,” he added.
“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.”
Turakhia says he completed other 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 roughly $160 million. He started his first internet business in 1996 at age 14, made his first $1 million at 18, his first $100 million at 23, and now crossed his first $1 billion at the age of 34, he says.
The deal positions Media.net to grow, innovate and develop new technologies and features at a faster pace through its entry into the Chinese ad tech market, currently the world’s second largest.
CVCapital acted as primary financial advisor in China, and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as overall financial advisor to Media.net. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP acted as legal advisor, and KPMG as transaction advisor to Media.net.
Photo (L-R): Zhang Zhiyong, chairman of Beijing Miteno, and Div Turakhhia, founder and CEO of Media.net, at M&A Deal Signing Ceremony in Dubai.