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Content discovery firm Outbrain reportedly seeks IPO at $2 billion valuation

Decision to hold share sale on Wall Street comes as merger with competitor Taboola fails, TheMarker says

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Outbrain suggests interesting and relevant content to users, and powers many publishing sites including that of CNN, Fox News and Slate (Shoshanna Solomon/TimesofIsrael)
Outbrain suggests interesting and relevant content to users, and powers many publishing sites including that of CNN, Fox News and Slate (Shoshanna Solomon/TimesofIsrael)

Content discovery firm Outbrain is seeking to hold an initial public offering of shares on Wall Street at a $2 billion valuation after a merger deal with a competitor fell through, TheMarker financial website reported on Sunday.

The decision to hold the IPO follows the failed merger plans with Taboola, which, like Outbrain, directs users to related content on the internet.

In October 2019 the two firms said they would merge into one firm valued at $2 billion, aiming to create more robust competition to Facebook and Google, which dominate the digital advertising market. But the deal fell apart in September 2020, as the two firms failed to agree on merger terms.

Outbrain has developed software that allows publishing sites, including CNN, Fox News and Slate, to offer viewers “smart content” that is relevant to their previous searches.

This is not the first time that Outbrain has sought to hold a share sale, TheMarker said, but industry sources told the website that this time things are different, because the firm has seen strong growth in the past year, and the booming stock markets globally will enable Outbrain to get a high valuation.

Taboola is also looking to list shares on Wall Street, TheMarker said.

Oubrain was set up in 2006 by Ori Lahav and Yaron Galai, who served together in the Israeli Navy during their mandatory army service. The firm has raised $196 million to date, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central, from investors including Vintage Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and HarbourVest Partners.

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