Israeli Internet merger to create $1.2-billion behemoth

Deal between ironSource and Supersonic yields a firm that employs over 800 people and reaches over a billion people a month

The ironSource team at its Tel Aviv headquarters (Courtesy)
The ironSource team at its Tel Aviv headquarters (Courtesy)

A merger between Israel-based digital delivery giant ironSource and Israeli-owned mobile ad firm Supersonic is set to form what may be Israel’s first Internet conglomerate.

The hookup, announced Thursday, will create a mobile ad and app behemoth that will reach over a billion users, based on the current reach of both companies — and not even accounting for the expansion the new entity is likely to experience as a result of the new products and services the companies plan to develop together.

IronSource, a company that is not quite five years old, is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with revenues said by analysts to be in excess of $300 million a year (the company does not issue financial data, as it is privately held). It partners with just about every tech and web giant there is, from Microsoft to Google to Yandex, the giant Russian search engine.

Over 100 million people per month use ironSource’s tech services, the company says, and industry experts believe that if it decided to go public, the valuation of ironSource would be pegged at over 1 billion dollars. The company employs over 600 people, most of them in Israel, with offices in the US, Europe, and China.

The company’s most important brand, InstallCore, is a platform used by companies large and small to deliver software downloads to PC and mobile users, and is “an end-to-end platform solution for software installation delivery and monetization,” said Arnon Harish, general manager of InstallCore; the platform reaches over 450 million unique mobile users each month, and hosts more than 6 million downloads a day.

Supersonic, founded in 2008 in Tel Aviv by Israeli tech veterans Gil Shoham and Arik Czerniak, isn’t quite as big, but it is a world leader in mobile video advertising. It works with companies such as Adidas, Intel, Coca Cola, and many others.

Supersonic teams up with companies like ironSource to deliver ads that are displayed during the install process, as well as running video ad campaigns, opt-in promotions, and other programs for companies that make mobile apps and distribute them on mobile installation platforms like InstallCore.

The two companies have been working together for years, and their goals — to provide a smooth ad and install experience for customers who install apps on their mobile devices — work hand-in-glove. With their interests so closely aligned, said the companies, the merger, based on the “deep mutual understanding of the mobile ecosystem and the challenges of distribution and monetization,” is a “driving force that will enable developers to reach and exceed monetization goals with a single centralized software development kit.”

Together, the companies said, they will reach over 1 billion monthly users — as well as create Israel’s biggest and most valuable Internet tech firm, with 800 employees and a likely valuation of over $1.2 billion, based on estimated valuation figures for both companies.

“There are many inconsistencies in the mobile industry that we are poised to solve with this merger — issues such as cross-screen tracking, mobile targeting and reporting,” said Tomer Bar Zeev, CEO of ironSource. “Together, our companies will become the go-to platform for mobile developers and advertisers. We believe that combining Supersonic’s strengths with ironSource’s data, scale and technology will position us to be the market leader in providing mobile analytics, distribution and monetization solutions.”

For Gil Shoham, CEO of Supersonic, “the real driving force behind this deal was a shared vision. Today, mobile developers and advertisers are forced to work with multiple partners in order to achieve their goals. Our combined product offering will now provide developers the most complete independent platform at scale. By joining forces, we will be able to bring more value to our customers and accelerate the investment in our technology.”

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