Verve Group Acquires Smaato, Securing a Spot as a Top 10 Global Ad Exchange

Verve Group, a privacy-first omnichannel ad platform, today announced the acquisition of Smaato through a subsidiary of its parent company Media and Games Invest SE (MGI). The transaction places Smaato at an enterprise value of USD $170m (£122.6m). The acquisition positions Verve Group as one of the top global mobile ad exchanges, with a joint team of over 300 employees spread across 25 offices worldwide.

Founded in 2005 and based in San Francisco and Hamburg, Smaato is a well-established leader in the mobile ad tech space, and has recently expanded beyond its core offering of mobile monetisation. The global Smaato group now offers a self-serve platform that provides publishers with a powerful set of tools for ad monetisation.

In particular, Smaato’s newly launched omnichannel monetisation solution is a natural fit to Verve Group’s own omnichannel ad platform, which provides solutions across mobile web, mobile in-app, desktop, digital out-of-home (DOOH), and connected TV (CTV). The acquisition of Smaato adds a powerful mobile-first supply-side platform (SSP) to Verve Group's full-stack suite of products. Further, the combined mobile ad exchanges of Verve Group and Smaato will have a reach of approx. 2 billion users worldwide, providing brands and agencies wider access to high-quality premium inventory.

Smaato has been steadily expanding over the years, a trend seen especially in its SaaS accounts which has grown by 117% 2020 YoY. The acquisition will significantly boost Verve Group’s audience reach, with the addition of a substantial number of in-app publishers and advertisers, particularly in the fast-growing digital markets of APAC. Smaato’s product line for publishers includes various integration methods via their SDK, API, ad tag, or Prebid, along with an ad server and an ad exchange. Additionally, the company also caters to marketers with a customer data platform (CDP), consent management platform (CMP), a powerful data visualisation product, and curated, brand-safe inventory packages for precision targeting.

“We are thrilled to welcome Smaato to the Verve Group family, and we look forward to extending their premium inventory and product suite to our partners,” said Sameer Sondhi, chief revenue officer at Verve Group. “Smaato’s expansion into innovative omnichannel monetisation solutions will play a key role in strengthening Verve Group’s offerings globally.”

“Joining Verve Group signals an exciting new opportunity for Smaato to expand its products to MGI’s wider audience, including the 5,000 casual games owned by its gaming segment,” said Shen Wei, shareholder representative at Smaato. “Having the support of Verve Group and its parent company MGI (and access to its first-party data from its owned games) provides Smaato with more reach, technical resources, and top talent to continue providing the results Smaato’s clients have come to expect.”

The acquisition is yet another milestone for Verve Group as it grows its robust full-stack programmatic solutions for brands and publishers. The omnichannel ad platform has been steadily increasing its focus on privacy-first advertising solutions, having recently acquired the Beemray platform to grow its contextual targeting capabilities, and launching a pioneering targeting solution called ATOM (or Anonymised Targeting on Mobile), built exclusively for in-app advertisers and publishers to solve for the deprecation of IDFA.

Media and Games Invest SE, the listed parent company of Verve Group’s companies, has through a subsidiary successfully entered into an agreement with the current shareholder of Smaato’s group companies, Shanghai Qiugu Investment Partnership (Limited Partnership), to acquire 99.99% of the shares of Shanghai Yi Qiu Business Management Co., Ltd., which is the holding company of Smaato Inc and Smaato Holding GmbH. The transaction has been signed today and is expected to close within the coming 2 months, provided regulatory approvals have been obtained. The purchase price will be fully paid in cash.