In today's ExchangeWire daily news digest: Captify sells majority stake to SFW Capital; Revolut raises USD$800m (£578m); and Alibaba and Tencent mull cooperation.
Captify sells majority stake to SFW Capital
Search intelligence platform Captify has announced that it has sold a majority stake to US private equity firm SFW Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum. This year London-based Captify celebrates ten years since launch, as well as five years in the US market. The investment will be used to accelerate the firm's growth within the post-cookie environment, bolstered with its recently-launched contextual solutions, while the current management team will remain with the company. The transaction continues a particularly strong week of ad tech M&A, following the purchases of Flashtalking by Mediaocean for USD$500m; Smaato by Verve Group's MGI unit for USD$170m; and Proper Media by Sovrn (undisclosed sum).
Dominic Joseph, co-founder and CEO, Captify, commented, "This marks a hugely exciting moment for us. We've been so incredibly dedicated and passionate about the growth of not only the company but also of every single brand that uses our platform. Over the past decade, we’ve been laser focused on taking the handcuffs off search in order to realize its full potential beyond the restrictions of Google and beyond its traditional place at the bottom of the funnel on a marketing plan. SFW shares our vision to be the Search Intelligence Platform for the open web and their experience in scaling data and software companies is the expertise and backing that excites us as we continue to accelerate globally. Undoubtedly, they will bring their extensive growth experience to add to our board, unlocking the next chapter of growth and continued product innovation."
Revolut raises USD$800m (£578m)
Banking and payments app Revolut has become the most valuable British fintech company in history following a USD$800m (£578m) Series E funding round, valuing the firm at USD$33bn (£24bn). The investment in the London-based firm was jointly led by Softbank's Vision Fund 2 vehicle and Tiger Global Management, both of which are new supporters of the firm. The funding will be used to support the company's mission to build a global financial "superapp" via product innovation across its banking, insurance, e-cpmmerce, and trading services.
Nikolay Storonsky, Founder & CEO of Revolut commented, "SoftBank and Tiger Global’s investments are an endorsement of our mission to create a global financial superapp that enables customers to manage all their financial needs through a single platform. This funding round makes Revolut the UK’s most valuable fintech, demonstrating investors’ confidence that we can deliver products that raise the bar for customers’ expectations across the whole financial services industry[...] We are building a full financial product suite in a single app, where you will always find the product that best meets your needs. Our services will be increasingly personalised, responding to our customers’ daily needs, always with low and transparent fees. As we expand into new markets we are encouraged by our customers’ enthusiasm for Revolut and we look forward to using this investment to further our mission."
Alibaba and Tencent mull cooperation
Chinese technology giants Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are considering opening up their services to each other in response to a recent crackdown on anticompetitive behaviour by the CCP. According to a report published in The Wall Street Journal, initial moves being considered include integrating Tencent's WeChat Pay in Alibaba's e-commerce portfolio, including Taobao and Tmall, in return for allowing Alibaba services to access WeChat users via in-platform mini-programs.
Beijing has ramped up its curbs on anticompetitive behaviour by its leading firms in recent months, which started with the blocking of the USD$37bn IPO of Alibaba subsidiary Ant Group at the close of last year. Subsequently in April, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) fined Alibaba a record CN¥18.2bn (£2.03bn) for locking third-party vendors into selling exclusively on their platform. Earlier this month, SAMR acted further by formally blocking the USD$5.3bn merger between Tencent's video game streaming services Huya and Douyu, which had been in the works since October last year.