Perion celebrates Conduit deal with free stock for all

Two of Israel’s most successful companies are now one and workers joining the expanded Perion family got a special welcome gift

A copy of the stock certificate awarded to the new Perion employees (Photo credit: Courtesy)
A copy of the stock certificate awarded to the new Perion employees (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Perion, the Israeli company behind IncrediMail, on Thursday completed its acquisition of the ClientConnect toolbar business from another Israeli company, Conduit. The all-stock deal was worth $660 million for Conduit – and for the 270 ex-Conduit workers who will now be employed by Perion, it was worth $564,000, with each employee getting 100 shares of Perion stock.

For the workers, that stock (in the form of actual shares, not options) could be the best part of the deal. Perion is a tech giant, with more than 150 million copies of its main products, IncrediMail and Smilebox. In 2013, the company’s stock rose 35%, following a share price rise of 126% in 2012.

Perion has been chiefly a consumer-oriented software company. IncrediMail is a free program that provides backgrounds, emoticons, signatures, animations, and more for both POP and web mail accounts, and Smilebox lets users share personal media (photos, videos, music) and content types (greetings, invitations, slideshows, scrapbooks, photo albums, collages, etc.) via any sharing method (e-mail, print, burn to DVD, post to Facebook, blog, Twitter or SMS). Other products include Photojoy, which converts photos into collages, puzzles and screensavers; Molto, a mobile email app; and instant messaging service SweetIM.

Perion also has a host of B2B solutions, including monetizing web sites and apps, analytics, and an affiliate program. It is to this division that Conduit’s technology – the company basically created and popularized the web toolbar business – will be used.

Toolbars are the search boxes and feature sets located on top of a browser’s windows; some users love them, others hate them. Conduit toolbars are used by many developers to monetize sites with a shared-revenue model, although making money off them has become a bit more difficult of late, as Google has basically banned third-party toolbars from its Chrome browser.

Nevertheless, Perion sees big opportunity in Conduit. After the deal was announced last September, Perion stockholders enthusiastically endorsed it, and the process was completed Thursday. Josef Mandelbaum, Perion’s CEO, said that “the transaction uniquely positions Perion as a leader in the software distribution ecosystem. Combined, we are focused on providing a variety of intelligent data-driven solutions to help publishers increase distribution and monetize their apps.

“Our vast network of developer partners, our many end users and our shareholders will benefit from our increased scale, driving exceptional reach and strong market recognition as we emerge today as one of the largest global digital distribution and product companies in the world,” he added.

“Our combined financial strength also enables us to significantly expand our investment in the mobile space and data analytics, two areas we believe will serve as the foundation for our top and bottom-line growth in the years to come,” Mandelbaum added.

And for Conduit employees, things have turned out just fine. They will be joining Perion’s staff of several hundred, and the 100 shares of Perion stock – a nice benefit given Perion’s recent growth – could end up being the best part of the deal for them.

Conduit, meanwhile, will continue on its own path, with 200 people continuing to work for the company, said spokesperson Daniel Morgan.

Conduit continues to be a well-resourced company focused on our mobile and browser engagement offerings – including U, a crossover mobile/desktop browser, and Conduit Mobile, one of the world’s leading do-it-yourself mobile app-creation platforms, which has over 1,000 new apps created every day.

“With the spin-off of the Client Connect toolbar division, Conduit is a smaller, well-resourced company still run by its founder, chairman and CEO, Ronen Shilo,” he added.

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