Posts tagged with "SPAC"

Yahoo takes minority stake in digital ad network Taboola

November 29, 2022

Yahoo is deepening its push into digital advertising, even as its competitors warn that the market is faltering, reports The New York Times.

The Internet pioneer, which was taken private in a $5 billion deal last year, is taking a roughly 25% stake in Taboola, the company known for serving up attention-grabbing links on websites, the chief executives of the companies said in an interview.

The deal is part of a 30-year exclusive advertising partnership that allows Yahoo to use Taboola’s technology to manage its sizable business in native advertising—ads that have the characteristics of traditional news and entertainment content.

Shares of Taboola have fallen nearly 80% over the past year, amid broader doldrums in the public and advertising markets—giving it a market capitalization of $455 million. Last January, when Taboola struck a deal to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, it was valued at $2.6 billion.

Executives at companies like Meta and TikTok have warned that advertisers skittish about the economy have pulled back on their spending. But Jim Lanzone, the chief executive of Yahoo, said in an interview that the deal with Taboola puts both companies in a good position for when the ad market revives.

“I’m thinking, you know, five, ten, 30 years,” Lanzone said. “Digital advertising has huge wind at its back over the long term.” He added that while the company will continue to try to bring in money in other ways, such as expanding its subscription business or investing in e-commerce, “we have hundreds of millions of people consuming news and sports and finance on market-leading properties that are heavily monetized through advertising — and will continue to be.”

Yahoo, a giant of the early internet, was eclipsed over the years by tech rivals like Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook. The company endured a messy power struggle and shaky leadership as it matured, leading to layoffs and shifts in strategy.

The company was taken private by the investment firm Apollo Global Management in the hopes that new leadership and a respite from the public markets would give it a chance to grow. Yahoo says it has about 900 million monthly users of its properties, which include AOL, TechCrunch, and Yahoo Sports, making it one of the largest destinations on the web.

oola, founded in 2007, specializes in native advertising, operating a sprawling advertising network over thousands of well-known websites, including CNBC, NBC News, and Insider.

The deal with Yahoo gives Taboola the exclusive license to sell native ads across Yahoo’s sites, and the companies will share revenue from those ad sales. The companies did not disclose the terms of the revenue split.

Yahoo, which will become Taboola’s largest shareholder, also will get a seat on the company’s board.

Research contact: @nytimes

23andMe is going public and Richard Branson is involved

February 5, 2021

Going public always was in 23andMe’s genes. Now, it’s happening, thanks to a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created by Richard Branson’s London-based Virgin Group.

Founded in 2006, 23anMe offers DNA testing for inherited traits, genealogy, and possible congenital risk factors. The consumer genetics and research company announced on February 4 that it soon will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange, thanks to a merger with a Branson’s SPAC.

The deal, worth an estimated $3.5 billion, is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021. The ticker symbol will change to ME, according to the companies.

“We have always believed that healthcare needs to be driven by the consumer, and we have a huge opportunity to help personalize the entire experience at scale, allowing individuals to be more proactive about their health and wellness. Through a genetics-based approach, we fundamentally believe we can transform the continuum of healthcare,” Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe’s CEO and cofounder, said in a written statement, in which she called Branson “a fellow industry disruptor.”

Branson was an early investor in the Sunnyvale, California-based DNA-testing company. He founded Virgin as a mail-order business in 1970 and subsequently founded Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Galactic. He was knighted in 1999.

23andMe currently boasts more than 12 million customers and has collected three billion phenotypic data points. Its human genome research has led to 150-plus peer-reviewed studies in scientific journals.

Research contact: @23andMe