A group of Chinese investors said it’s acquiring ad-tech startup Media.net for about $900 million in cash, with plans to eventually sell the company to an obscure telecommunications firm whose shares have been suspended from trading since last year. Media.net, which is based in Dubai and New York, is touting this as the third-largest ad-tech acquisition in history. However, the complex deal more closely resembles a reverse merger, where a private company takes over a public one and bypasses the formalities of an initial public offering.
Technology entrepreneur Divyank Turakhia started Media.net in 2010 and bootstrapped the business. The company provides the technology powering contextual ads offered by Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp.’s Bing search engine. The system is similar to one offered by Google, choosing which ads to show based on the content of the web page they appear on.
The deal comes as merger activity involving ad-tech companies is declining. There were 43 deals