Velti (NASDAQ: VELT), a leading global provider of mobile marketing and advertising technology, today announced that it intends to acquire the remaining equity ownership of CASEE, the largest mobile ad exchange and mobile ad network in China.
CASEE was founded in 2006 by CEO Xin Ye and a team of successful technology entrepreneurs. Previously, Mr. Ye was founding CTO of Sohu.com (NASDAQ: SOHU), China’s leading web portal, and Censoft, Microsoft’s first joint venture in China. Eric Xu, CASEE founding investor and current board member is also a co-founder of Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), China’s leading search portal. In 2008, Velti acquired 33 percent of CASEE, giving the company the ability to execute campaigns for global brands in China, and forming an important piece of Velti’s global expansion strategy.
The proposed acquisition will give Velti a self-service mobile marketplace platform that:
- Connects more than 10,000 mobile content publishers including Sohu and Baidu and over 2,000 iPhone and Android application partners with advertisers ranging from multinational companies such as Kodak, General Motors, Google, MSN, Tencent, Mobile 360, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft and Audi among others, to local, small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Offers both advertisers and publishers the ability to target and personalize advertising in different provinces and cities. CASEE allows advertisers to target by province, city, phone brand, phone model, and user behavior; and
- Provides easy-to-use self-serve web tools with transparent and robust reporting.
“Our plan to acquire the remaining interests in CASEE reflects our commitment to supporting the global needs of our clients,” said Alex Moukas, CEO of Velti. “The acquisition also positions us optimally to capitalize on the rapidly expanding mobile marketing and advertising market in China, where there are now more than 850 million mobile subscribers. Online advertising spending in China, which historically has served as a precursor to mobile ad spending, is expected to surpass $5 billion this year, an increase of more than 30 percent over last year according to eMarketer. Combined with our 2010 acquisition of Mobclix, this will significantly enhance our global mobile exchange footprint, which is key to our strategy for continued growth.”
“We are confident that joining forces with the world leader in mobile marketing will help accelerate the growth of our publisher and advertiser customer bases by increasing our exposure and attractiveness to global brands,” said Xin Ye, CEO of CASEE. “We’re particularly excited about the strong synergies between our mobile marketplace capabilities and those of Velti’s exchange properties and the combination of mobile advertising and mobile marketing that Velti mGage offers.”
What we think?
Yikes. This is one way to storm trooper your way to the leader board in the Chinese market. It looks like a pretty shrewd move to us. CASEE is an interesting choice of one of several Chinese players the company could have chosen. But buying a self-service is player is definitely about tactics. Suddenly you don’t have a select few clients you have an armoury of content providers and registered users that are eager, already using and paying for mobile services.