Amobee hunts for mobile-ad tech

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Amobee’s purchase of Gradient X is the latest in a line of mobile-advertising deals, as ad-tech companies bring on new capabilities to serve the quickly growing market.

Amobee became a subsidiary of SingTel in a $321m deal last year. It was unique in that a wireless carrier was spending a significant amount of money to extend beyond its core services business. The rationale behind that deal was to give Amobee resources to expand. Earlier this year, Amobee acquired for interactive-ad technology, and continues to look for deals that bring it new mobile technologies or enable its global expansion.

Gradient X had just begun commercializing technology to automate and optimize the purchase of mobile ad space. Amobee already offered advertisers a product that would enable them to place their mobile ads across different publishers through a manual process.

This deal brings the total number of mobile ad-tech acquisitions so far this year to 16, one more than all of last year, according to the 451 KnowledgeBase. Other deals include app developer Phunware’s $23m purchase of mobile ad network TapIt Media, Millennial Media’s $14m acquisition of mobile-ad targeter Metaresolver and its $221m deal for Jumptap, which it bought for capabilities such as real-time bidding and targeting. (Investors didn’t exactly love Millennial Media’s bet on Jumptap, and knocked shares in the company to their lowest-ever levels.)

Still, the market is growing quickly, according to Interactive Advertising Bureau. Mobile-advertising spending doubled last year to $3.4bn. However, we would note that is still less than a tenth of the digital advertising market in the US, despite consumers spending an ever-increasing amount of time on their mobile devices.

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