Blackstone to buy mobile ad tech company Vungle

Vungle helps developers monetize their apps by delivering data-driven creatives

Private equity firm Blackstone announced today (15 July) it is buying Vungle for an undisclosed amount.

The mobile ad tech company runs in-app ads across over one billion unique devices and has partnerships with brands such as Zynga, Pandora and Microsoft.

“As a best-in-class performance marketing platform, Vungle represents a key growth engine for the mobile app ecosystem," said Sachin Bavishi, principal at Blackstone. "Our investment will help deliver on the company’s tremendous growth potential and we look forward to partnering with management to extend Vungle’s strength across mobile gaming and other performance brands.”

Vungle was founded in 2011. In 2017, it had to remove founder Zain Jaffer as chief executive officer after he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapong, among other charges.

That suit was eventually dropped, and as part of the deal Vungle had to reach a settlement with Jaffer who had filed for wrongful termination.

In a statement, Jaffer called this acquisition an "historic day" for Vungle.

"As TechCrunch reported, I tried to acquire Vungle last year with the backing of a different group of private equity buyers," said Jaffer. "My plan was to invest more aggressively in our AI initiatives, grow revenues beyond $1bn and acquire some interesting companies. The exit strategy was to take Vungle public or sell to a strategic like Amazon, but for five times the price that was reported today. The new buyers seem smart and will probably do exactly that."

Current Vungle chief Rick Tallman called the acquisition exciting news, but laid out different plans for future growth.

"Blackstone’s acquisition will further accelerate Vungle’s mission to be the trusted guide for growth and engagement, transforming how users discover and experience mobile apps," said Tallman. "We would like to thank Crosslink Capital and Thomvest Ventures for their support in building Vungle into a market leader. As we look ahead at the significant opportunity in the in-app mobile advertising market, with Blackstone’s support, we will aggressively expand our global platform through organic and inorganic growth.”

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