Israeli advertising technology company ironSource announced on Tuesday that the British private equity firm CVC has agreed to acquire a minority stake for more than $400 million.
IronSource develops technologies for app monetization and distribution, with its core products targeting game developers. The Tel Aviv-based company plans to expand its operations in the mobile phone and gaming sectors.
Although ironSource declined to say what percentage stake CVC would own or what value the deal attaches to the whole company, Israeli media quoted sources close to the deal talking of a 25 percent stake.
Israel’s Calcalist financial newspaper reported that the deal valued ironSource at $1.55 billion. The company, which has raised $120 million to date, remains on track to finish 2019 with $1 billion in revenue.
Its founders – CEO Tomer Bar Zeev, and brothers Itai, Eyal and Roy Milrad – own 45% of the company’s shares, with other shareholders including Viola Ventures (14%), North83, Disruptive Technologies, Saban Capital Ventures, Leumi Partners and Clal Industries.
The CVC sale – expected to be the biggest secondary deal of an Israeli company – will probably be the last funding ironSource raises before its initial public offering, scheduled for the second half of 2020.
Founded in 2009 as a download optimization software developer, ironSource gradually shifted its focus to rewarded ads, and its 2015 merger with Israel-based Supersonic created Israel’s largest web company. It is now the largest provider of engaged media globally, with partners including leading software, app and game developers and the world’s top telecom operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
The gaming industry is experiencing rapid growth and projected to generate some $180 billion in 2022, with mobile gaming growing 27% annually. “We’re witnessing the creation of a sector, gametech, which supports this growing ecosystem, with tailor-made tech solutions such as advertising, marketing, analytics, market intelligence, CRM and more,” said Bar Zeev.
Another key growth driver for the company is Aura, ironSource’s solution for mobile carriers and device manufacturers. The technology is already integrated on more than 120 million mobile devices globally.
The company is based in Tel Aviv, with 13 additional offices in San Francisco, New York, London and Asia. It has 850 employees, mostly in Israel, about half employed in research and development.
CVC, one of the world’s largest funds, has over $129 billion raised in commitments and some $82 billion in assets under management. These include Formula One, Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling and luggage manufacturer Samsonite International.
Sebastian Kuenne, Managing Director, CVC Growth Partners said: “We are very excited about CVC Funds’ first technology deal in Israel. Israel is a hub for leading edge technology companies and ironSource is a prime example.”