Google is in early talks to buy mobile ad company InMobi to expand its market in emerging countries, and counter rising competition from Facebook, according to a news report.
InMobi is second only to Google in the worldwide ad market. It places its ads for clients, based on the user profile of portals. The company employs over 900 people, with offices in 17 countries. The company reached 1 billion unique devices in the last quarter, the first mobile-focussed platform to do so.
"We do not comment on speculation," a company spokesperson told HuffPost in a phone interview.
If this deal goes through, it “would give Google an even stronger presence in the mobile ad space, since InMobi is not only a fast-growing competitor but has made significant traction in emerging markets,” said Neha Dharia, a senior analyst with telecommunications consulting firm Ovum, in this interview.
Founder-CEO Naveen Tewari started the company in 2007 as mKhoj, with a focus on chats and VOIP services. After a year, Tewari switched the business to mobile ads. The timing worked as internet ads started to take off. The company got funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Softbank, which put in $200 million in 2010. It is now valued at $2.5 billion, and turned profitable in the fourth quarter last year. Its clients include global companies such as Microsoft, Adidas, Lancome, Yamaha Motor Co., and US retail major Macy's.
Google's overture towards InMobi follows a couple of deals by competitors in India. In January, Twitter acquired Bangalore-based mobile marketing startup ZipDial for about $30 million to expand its reach to customers who don't use data on their phones, and expand in emerging markets as growth plateaus in the United States. In 2014, Facebook acquired Little Eye Labs that specializes in analyzing mobile data.