Telenor to Acquire Marketing Technology Firm Tapad

By now you may have heard the news that Telenor, one of the largest telecoms in the world, has announced its intention to acquire Tapad for 360 million USD.

This is entirely great news for us. Telenor is a public company with a $24B market cap, $15B in revenues, more than 200mm subscribers and offices in 13 countries. Below are some of the key points of the news today, but perhaps the most important thing for you to know is that nothing changes in the way we do business together.

Telenor has expressly stated that their intentions are: #1 - To preserve Tapad as a stand-alone company and #2 - To accelerate the global growth of both our Media and Data operations, products and services. Obviously, this is a terrific day for Team Tapad – we are all extremely proud of what we have built and excited about our potential moving forward – none of which would be possible without your support, so THANK YOU!

You can read the press release here in case it is of interest. If any other notable news develops, of course you’ll be among the first to know! NEWS FACTS:

  • Telenor has entered into an agreement to acquire Tapad for $360 million on a debt and cash-free basis. Today marks the announcement of their filing, not a closed deal. For a transaction of this size, regulatory approval typically takes ~2-3 weeks to formally close.
  • Telenor is a public company with a $24B market cap, $15B in revenues, giving a 600x return to shareholders last 15 years.  It is one of the largest telecoms in the world with more than 200mm subscribers, offices in 13 countries and a notable footprint in SE Asia. They currently have 33,000 employees.
  • Within its media business, Tapad currently has more than 160 of the top US brands among its customers and, on the data licensing side, currently holds an estimated 85% market share with more than 50 key data technology partnerships. In 2015, the company is expected to report revenues of USD 57 million, with a 70% increase over 2014. The company achieved a run rate in excess of USD 80 million in Q4 of 15. Tapad has more than 150 employees, with offices in 13 key cities in the U.S. and Europe.
  • Tapad will remain a stand-alone company. Telenor has expressed a strong belief in the growth potential for each existing business – both Media and Data – in terms of product line extensions and geographic expansion, particularly Asia.
  • Are Traasdahl, CEO and Founder and Dag Liodden, CTO and co-Founder, remain at the helm. There are no layoffs and the team will remain in-tact, Tapad will run business-as-usual.
  • The main sellers are Are Traasdahl and Tapad’s lead investor, FirstMark Capital, which led each round of investment and has held a board position since Tapad’s inception. Additional notable sellers include Firsthand Technology, Avalon Ventures, WPP and Metamorphic Ventures.
  • According to Telenor, “Tapad provides a strong strategic fit to Telenor with its superior capabilities within data aggregation and ID management that could act as a fundament for the data & distribution platform underpinning Telenor’s aspired digital service provider position.” Telenor also referenced attractiveness of entering a high growth business with substantial opportunities for both Tapad’s and Telenor’s footprint in Asia.
  • Although Tapad has benefitted from VC ownership in its first years, a financially stronger industrial owner such as Telenor will accelerate Tapad’s stand-alone business plan further through the development of new products and services, and geographic expansion outside US (also in emerging markets).

SUPPORTING QUOTES

Sigve Brekke, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group:

“With the acquisition of Tapad, Telenor Group is taking a position within the rapidly growing market for advertising technology, and securing important competence within digital marketing and analytics. I believe significant value can be created from applying marketing technology to improve the digital capabilities of our core telecom business. This will improve our understanding of customer behaviour, and supports building a platform for other business areas.’’

Are Traasdahl, CEO and Founder of Tapad:

“We are thrilled to join the Telenor family. With more than 200 million mobile subscribers in 13 markets, Telenor is one of the largest and most successful telecom companies globally. I am excited by what this acquisition means for our employees, our partners and our continued growth. This will accelerate our vision to become the worlds’ leading provider of unified digital marketing solutions.” 

 

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