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Mobile ad tech company Smaato has been acquired by a Chinese firm for $148 million

ragnar kruse(LinkedIn)
Smaato CEO Ragnar Kruse.

Smaato, a San Francisco-based mobile ad tech company, has been acquired by Chinese marketing firm Spearhead for $148 million.

Smaato is a mobile supply-side platform that allows mobile developers and publishers to connect their advertising inventory to multiple ad exchanges and demand-side platforms in order to monetize their apps.

The company also offers a mobile ad server, a real-time bidding ad exchange, and an ad network mediation platform.

In a press release, Spearhead says the acquisition — which is being facilitated by an M&A fund invested by one of its subsidiaries — will help the company expand globally.

In addition, it will allow Smaato to enter China with an established Chinese partner, giving it access to many of the 1.3 billion mobile users in the country.

While Smaato is based in San Francisco, the company was founded in Germany, so in some respects this represents the second recent ad tech exit worth more than $100 million in recent months. The other was France-based video ad tech company StickyAds, which was acquired by Comcast for more than $100 million in May.

As AdExchanger points out, the deal also represents a growing trend of Chinese companies acquiring ad tech firms. 

The most high-profile recent deal was Opera Mediaworks being acquired by a conglomerate of Chinese companies for $1.2 billion in February. NativeX was acquired by Mobvisa in the same month for just under $25 million.

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