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Verve Group Acquires Mobile Specialist SSP Smaato

Tim Cross  14 July, 2021

Verve Group, an ad tech business which offers buy-side and sell-side programmatic trading tools, this morning announced it is acquiring Smaato, a mobile ad tech company focussed on the sell-side. The deal values Smaato, founded in 2005, at around $170 million.

Judging by revenues alone, Smaato will be a significant addition to Verve Group. Smaato’s revenues last year were just over half of Verve Group’s, and are projected to grow 18 percent this year to €39 million. Smaato will also strengthen Verve’s presence in Asia, where Smaato’s business has grown since being bought by Shanghai Qiugu Investment Partnership and Shenzhen QS Funds Management back in 2016.

And Media and Games Invest (MGI), the German investment business which owns Verve Group, says Smaato fits into its wider acquisition strategy. MGI has made a number of acquisitions over the past few years, as it looks to build an “omnichannel programmatic SaaS platform covering the entire value chain in the media sector between advertiser and publisher”. These acquisitions have included Nexstar’s video ad tech platform previously known as LKQD, native advertising business PubNative, and contextual specialist Beemray.

Specifically, Smaato will boost Verve’s mobile offering, with its specialist mobile SSP and ad server. These tools will now be used to help monetise MGI’s library of over 5,000 owned and operated mobile games.

Smaato also fits neatly with MGI’s “omnichannel programmatic SaaS platform”. Smaato itself has been investing in omnichannel capabilities recently, launching an OTT solution back in March. And its SaaS accounts have been one of its fastest growing segments, with revenues up 117 percent last year.

Remco Westermann, CEO of Media and Games Invest, said he hopes the Smaato acquisition will help Verve become “one of the leading ad tech players in the open internet worldwide”. He added that he believes “envisaged cost and revenue synergies between Smaato and Verve Group, as well as technical innovations and further investment in growth will ensure the continuance of further strong growth of our media segment”.

The announcement comes during a hectic period of M&A in the ad tech world. Just in the last few weeks we’ve seen Smart Adserver acquiring DynAdmic, Magnite buying SpringServe and Mediaocean buying Flashtalking. It seems ad tech’s period of consolidation isn’t taking a summer holiday.

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