SingTel subsidiary buys US startup

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amobee2Amobee, the mobile advertising company bought by SingTel for $321 million last year, has bought Gradient X, a young Los Angeles-based developer of a real-time bidding platform for mobile ads, which has just come out of beta.

The undisclosed sale price is understood to run to tens of millions of dollars – not bad for a startup that had only raised $3.75 million from backers, reports TechCrunch.

According to Trevor Healy, the CEO of Amobee, the acquisition is as much about picking up a product that fills a need at Amobee, as it is about picking up some key talent. “The founders and engineering team of Gradient X are technology rock stars, and when we met them we knew they had to be a part of the top team at Amobee,” said Healy.

“We are excited to join Amobee, which is globally recognized as the leader in mobile marketing,” said Brian Baumgart, CEO of Gradient X.

With the acquisition of Gradient X, Amobee will be able to offer companies the ability to make media buys through multiple channels and formats like video and HTML5, with bidding and pricing marked in real time, and with analytics for improved targeting. This is expected to give media buyers a better return on their spend.

Gradient X will remain in LA, and Amobee plans to capitalize on that by setting up a sales office in the city as well.

Amobee, a division of SingTel’s Digital L!fe Group, is headquartered in Redwood City, California, and has offices in Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and throughout the United States. Helping its customers run targeted, leading edge mobile ad campaigns on a global scale, Amobee was declared the winner of the “Mobile Marketing & Advertising Agency of the Year” award at the 17th Annual Global Mobile Awards, held at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Amobee serves not only SingTel but other carriers as well as including AT&T, Sprint, Vodafone and Telefonica. But the Asia-Pacific portion of its business is now growing. Whereas last year it made up 10 per cent of Amobee’s revenues, this year that rose to at least one-third, according to TechCrunch.

SingTel is believed to have bought Amobee to gain better control over ads across its network of operations, and offer publishers a more attractive, targeted advertising option than going with one of the other established players, such as Google.

That strategy will take on a new twist for SingTel in the coming years. SingTel is one of the 18 carriers that has signed on to work with Mozilla in the development of the Firefox OS for mobile.

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