E-commerce firm takes majority stake in digital marketer Glispa for $77M

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E-commerce vendor Market Tech Holdings has acquired a majority stake in digital marketing firm Glispa for $77 million.

London-based Market Tech Holdings, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange at a value of $1.4 billion, has a combination of real-estate holdings and an e-commerce business operated through an online platform called market.com. With the Glispa deal, the company is moving into high-performance digital marketing campaigns.

Berlin-based Glispa will continue its rapid expansion around the globe to boost its ability to offer optimized ads for mobile and online app and game developers.

Glispa said it will play a key role within Market Tech’s digital strategy by becoming a full-service solution provider for its own brands, along with both current and future retailers. The company is targeting mobile commerce, a market that analyst firm Digi-Capital expects to be the dominant business model, creating over $516 billion in sales and driving more than 70 percent of all mobile Internet revenue by 2017.

Glispa already reaches about a billion active mobile users and serves more than 400 billion ad impressions a month. According to eMarketer, the worldwide mobile ad market will grow to nearly $65 billion in 2015, up over 60 percent from 2014. That figure is expected to reach $158.55 billion by 2018, when mobile ads will account for 22.3 percent of all advertising spending worldwide.

Glispa founder and CEO Gary Lin said in an interview that the company would likely expand its presence in London, add new locations around the world, and look at doing partnerships or other deals as the company builds out its portfolio.

“We have been approached by quite a few companies over the past couple of years, and this one brought of different assets, in addition to the financial power,” Lin said. “We find it very intriguing what they are doing with the e-commerce business and their offline strategy.”

Glispa said recently that it gets more than 84 billion of its (mostly mobile) 400 billion monthly ad impressions from the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The number of BRIC ad impressions is up 90 percent from a year ago, and it illustrates the rapid growth of smartphones in the fast-growing region, whose component countries still have a population of 2 billion people who don’t own smartphones.

The company plans and launches marketing campaigns on mobile devices and the web, enabling app publishers to reach a more diverse set of users across the world through performance-based ads (those where the publisher gets paid if the user takes an action like installing an app).

“Glispa’s market-leading technologies and team will add significant value to our business and I want to start by welcoming Glispa to Market Tech group, ” said Charles Butler, CEO of Market Tech, in a statement. “We see the future of online retail being via mobile devices and Glispa’s proprietary technologies are at the cutting edge of m-commerce, helping businesses interact with their customers on-the-go. ”

Lin founded Glispa in Berlin in 2008, and it has expanded to offices in San Francisco, Bangalore, Beijing, and Sao Paolo. It recently said it is adding six million new customers monthly, and it has 210 million monthly active users now. Roughly 90 percent of the business is mobile, while the rest is PC. About 30 percent of the impressions are for gaming publishers, but the rest are from categories such as mobile commerce, music services, productivity, and entertainment.

The company launched in Brazil in 2008 with clients such as OLX. It added Russia in 2009, with clients like Mail.Ru. It added India in 2011 and entered the Chinese market in 2012. In China, it has 1,631 publishers. Glispa says it is working with 18 of the top 30 publishers in China.

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