Ybrant Digital to acquire minority stake in Israel-based Web 3.0

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad-based Ybrant Digital, a digital marketing solutions company, has resumed its buying spree. After lapping up seven deals in the past five years, the company has decided to acquire a minority stake in Israel-based digital media company Web 3.0 for an undisclosed sum in an all cash deal.

“We expect to complete the acquisition in a couple of months. Web 3.0 is a market leader in Israel. By acquisition minority stake we want to build a joint venture so that we can take their marketing methodology to global market. We will also be able to build technologies around its methodology,” said Suresh Reddy, chairman & CEO, Ybrant Digital.

Estimates suggest that worldwide spend on mobile marketing, advertising and messaging to exceed US $3.3 billion in 2011, and reach $20.6 billion by 2015. Search ads and location-based ads will particularly drive growth. Brand spending on mobile advertising will grow from 0.5% of the total current advertising budgets to over 4% in 2015. Asia has and will continue to dominate global mobile ad spend.

“We clearly see that the mobile media has huge potential for growth in the years to come. Ybrant has made a strategic commitment to play a significant role in the growth and development of this arena. This collaboration with Web 3.0 is the first among the few moves we are making towards strengthening our offering.” said Reddy.

According to Shahaf Bar-Geffen, CEO, Web 3.0, with Ybrant’s massive global team and a solid growth strategy, Web 3.0 will be able to jointly expand our mobile advertising efforts at a faster pace and to subsequent markets.

Ybrant’s acquisition saga started in 2006 by acquiring US-based MediosOne, an Internet advertising network for $4 million in April 2006. In 2007, we lapped up AdDynamix for $10 million and Serbia-based VoloMP for 2.2 million.

In 2008, it acquired Israel-based Oridian for $13.5 million and thereby expanded its reach outside the US market to the UK, Germany, France and Eastern Europe. Again in 2009, it acquired Argentina-based DreamAd for an undisclosed sum and deepened its presence in Latin America. DreamAd had 300 active clients and it had an exclusive advertising arrangement with Microsoft.

In 2009, it added Australia-based Max Interactive to its kitty marking its entry into APAC market. Last year, it had acquired erstwhile Internet powerhouse Lycos for $36 million last year.

Started in 2000, Ybrant has offices in 16 countries. So far the company had raised four rounds of private equity. This is the fourth round of funding received by Ybrant Digital. The latest round of funding was done in January this year by raising $48 million in debt and equity from Oak Investment and ICICI Bank. In the earlier three rounds it had raised about $53 million.

“We have raised over $100 million through debt and equity of which debt portion is small,” said Reddy.

Ybrant expects to achieve revenues of over $200 million this fiscal with its new initiatives.

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