Blackstone-backed Liftoff and Vungle agree to merge

Image Credit: Liftoff

Performance-based mobile app marketing firm Liftoff and San Francisco-based mobile ad tech company Vungle have agreed to merge into one mobile app growth company, which will be called Liftoff+Vungle for now.  

Liftoff and Vungle are merging into one prior majority investments from private equity funds managed by Blackstone (“Blackstone”) in both Liftoff and Vungle. In September 2019, Blackstone closed the acquisition of Vungle for more than $750 million, and in December Blackstone announced that it was investing nearly $400 million in Liftoff.

“The merger of Liftoff and Vungle brings together two extraordinary companies and paves the way to create the next generation of industry-leading solutions that will set the standard for mobile content growth,” said Sachin Bavishi, a Managing Director at Blackstone. “We have high conviction in the growth potential of the mobile app economy and are excited to partner with Mark, Jeremy, and the rest of the team to expand upon the combined company’s leadership position and further accelerate growth.”

Liftoff co-founder and CEO Mark Ellis will lead the combined company as CEO and Vungle CEO Jeremy Bondy will be assuming the role of President. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Currently, Liftoff delivers more than two billion engaging ads each day across more than 550,000 mobile apps in more than 140 countries. 

“When we launched Liftoff nine years ago, it was our vision to offer leading solutions for mobile marketers, in a world where few independent and unbiased alternatives existed,” said Mark Ellis. 

“In joining forces with Vungle, we offer not only the industry’s most complete and scaled platform, but also maintain our focus on serving our mobile customers without any conflicts or competing offerings. I am excited about our next phase of growth and innovation as we create the go-to mobile growth platform of the future.”

Vungle operates one of the largest and most diverse mobile monetization platforms, with over 100,000 direct SDK integrations across leading mobile app publishers and 15,000 individual content creators across its influencer marketing platform, in addition to a broad suite of strong capabilities across user acquisition, creative technologies, and content analytics.

Vungle announced that it has acquired automated user acquisition platform Algolift in October, mobile gaming analytics company GameRefinery in March, mobile ad creative technology firm TreSensa Technologies in May, and influencer marketing platform JetFuel in June.

“When I think about delivering our mission and purpose, there is no better opportunity for Vungle than combining with Liftoff. This merger accelerates our vision to become the essential destination for all mobile developers, and the joining of two leaders as part of this industry-defining transaction will drive huge value for our partners,” said Jeremy Bondy. “Together, we can address the complete mobile app growth cycle – from app design and development to marketing, measurement, and monetization.”

The deal is expected to close at the end of September. The merged company will offer platforms that fuels the entire mobile app growth cycle across user acquisition, engagement, monetization, and analytics.

Written by Sophie Blake

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