3 Oct 2019

Taboola and Outbrain to Merge to Create Meaningful Advertising Competitor to Facebook and Google

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NEW YORK, October 3, 2019 - Taboola and Outbrain, two digital advertising platforms, today announced that they have entered into an agreement to merge, subject to customary closing conditions. Both companies’ Boards of Directors have approved the transaction. The combined company will provide enhanced advertising efficacy and reach to marketers worldwide, while helping news organizations and other digital properties more effectively find growth in the years to come.  

“Over the past decade, I’ve admired Outbrain and the innovation that Yaron Galai, Ori Lahav and the rest of the Outbrain team have brought to the marketplace. By joining forces, we’ll be able to create a more robust competitor to Facebook and Google, giving advertisers a more meaningful choice,” said Adam Singolda, Founder & CEO of Taboola. According to eMarketer, almost 70% of total U.S. digital advertising revenue in 2019 is controlled by only three companies—Google, Facebook and Amazon. “We’re passionate about driving growth for our customers and supporting the open web, which we consider critical in a world where walled gardens are strong, and perhaps too strong. Working together, we will continue investing to better connect advertising dollars with local and national news organizations, strengthening journalism over the next decade. This is why we’re merging; this is our mission.”  

“We are excited to partner with Taboola. Both Outbrain and Taboola have a shared mission and vision of supporting quality journalism globally and delivering meaningful value to the open web marketplace,” said Yaron Galai, co-Founder and co-CEO of Outbrain. “Ori and I had a vision of helping people discover quality content online, and we see a tremendous opportunity in joining forces in order to bring the next wave of innovation to our publisher partners and advertisers. I’m confident that together, we will be able to further our mission, which we call our Lighthouse, of bringing the best, most trustworthy content discovery capabilities to users around the world.”

Upon closing, Adam Singolda, the Founder and current CEO of Taboola, will assume the CEO position of the combined company, which will operate under the Taboola brand name, with branding to be determined and to reflect the merger of the two companies. Under the terms of the merger agreement Outbrain shareholders will receive shares representing 30% of the combined company plus $250 million of cash.  The Board of Directors of the combined company will consist of current Taboola and Outbrain Management and Board members. Eldad Maniv, President & COO of Taboola and David Kostman, co-CEO of Outbrain will work closely together on managing all aspects of the post-merger integration. Yaron Galai will remain committed to the success of the combined company, and actively assist with the transition for the 12 months following the closing.

“We are fortunate to have great talent at both Outbrain and Taboola,” said Eldad Maniv. “As soon as the merger closes, we will work to integrate teams, technologies and infrastructures so we can quickly accelerate growth across all dimensions. We have set aggressive goals for bringing value to our customers, driving technology innovation and delivering financial results to our shareholders through increased efficacy and innovation. By working with David and the Outbrain team, I’m confident we can achieve them.”

“For over 10 years, each company has built incredibly powerful solutions that have helped tens of thousands of publishers and advertisers thrive,” said David Kostman. “I look forward to working together with Eldad and his team to bring together the best of each company’s technology, product and business expertise to build a compelling global open web alternative to Google and Facebook.”

The combined company will have over 2,000 employees across 23 offices, serving over 20,000 clients in more than 50 countries across the North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions.

 

Compelling Strategic and Financial Rationale for the Merger                                                  

Key strategic benefits of the merger include:

  1. Increased Advertiser Choice: The combined company will be able to provide advertisers, from small businesses to global brands, with a meaningful competitive alternative to Google and Facebook—the companies currently known as the “Duopoly” that command the vast majority of digital ad spend.
  2. Greater Advertising Efficiency: A unified and consolidated buying platform will provide advertisers with greater efficiencies, helping them reach their awareness, consideration and conversion goals. 
  3. Higher Revenue and User Engagement to Publishers, Mobile Carriers and Mobile OEMs: Through increased investment in technology and expanded reach, the combined platform will be able to increase revenue to publishers, mobile carriers and device manufacturers, and drive better user engagement.
  4. Accelerated Innovation: By combining two of the strongest data science and AI teams in the industry, and by accelerating investment in R&D, the company will be able to better address the evolving needs of its partners and customers. 
  5. Better Consumer Experience:  Increasingly, Taboola’s and Outbrain’s solutions are embraced directly by consumers to help them discover what’s interesting and new, at moments when they’re ready to explore.  For example, Taboola News is now embedded in over 60 million Android devices worldwide. The combined company will be able to accelerate the development of such innovative solutions, improving people’s ability to enjoy quality journalism.                           

                                                                                                                                               
Representation                                                                    
J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Taboola. Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Offices and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to Taboola. Taboola was also supported by Citigroup Global Markets Inc.; Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to Outbrain, and Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Offices, White & Case LLP and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati acted as legal counsel to Outbrain.