The Norwegian browser maker Opera Software, which had an excellent Q4 2011, has acquired two mobile advertising networks – Mobile Theory Inc. and 4th Screen Advertising, Ltd. The company expects the new purchases to “significantly expand its offering to advertisers and mobile publishers”.
Back in 2010, Opera entered the booming mobile advertising arena with the acquisition of AdMarvel for $8 million in cash. Soon after, Opera launched Open Mobile Ad Exchange, which helps monetize Opera Mini and Opera Mobile by inserting ads into partner websites.
AdMarvel is already having a significant positive impact on Opera’s bottom line. By the end of 4Q11, mobile advertisements delivered by AdMarvel reached more than 130 million consumers across more than 7,000 mobile applications and websites around the world. This represents an impressive 134% year-on-year increase. During the same period, Opera’s revenue in the mobile publisher (Opera Mobile Store) and advertiser area (AdMarvel and Opera Mobile Ad Exchange) grew over 200%.
The new acquisitions will help Opera sign up more publishers and advertisers by increasing the reach of its mobile ad network. 4th Screen Advertising is focused on UK and other European countries, and its advertiser clients include Coke, Barclaycard, Direct Line, Green Flag, Disney, Natwest, Warner Bros, Nokia and more. On the other hand, Mobile Theory is more US oriented, and has clients like Microsoft, Chevrolet and Coca-Cola.
“This is yet another important step in Opera’s quest to create even more economic value in the mobile ecosystem. Two years ago, we announced the acquisition of AdMarvel – which has grown to become the global leader as a supply-side platform (publisher platform) for mobile advertising. Last year, Opera helped generate well over $200 million in revenue for our publishers globally,” said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software.
Opera will shell out $5 million in cash upfront to each of the companies, with $16 million being put in escrow ($13 million for Mobile Theory and $3 million for 4th Screen). Amount from the escrow will be paid out to the sellers in 2012 and 2013 based on revenue performance targets. Additionally, MT and 4th Screen can earn up to $32 million and $6.5 million respectively in earn-out cash for fulfilling aggressive 2012 and 2013 revenue and EBIT targets.