Liftoff CEO, Mark Ellis, left and Vungle CEO, Jeremy Bondy, right

Merging complementary technologies creates one of the world’s largest integrated mobile growth platforms to power the $500 billion global mobile app ecosystem

Liftoff, a leading global performance-based mobile app marketing optimisation platform, and Vungle, a leading global mobile app discovery and enablement platform, announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine. The merger will create one of the world’s largest independent and privacy-friendly platforms that fuels the entire mobile app growth cycle across user acquisition, engagement, monetisation, and analytics. Liftoff co-founder and CEO Mark Ellis will lead the combined company as CEO and Vungle CEO Jeremy Bondy will be assuming the role of President. The transaction follows prior majority investments from private equity funds managed by Blackstone (“Blackstone”) in both Liftoff and Vungle.

Liftoff and Vungle currently operate as strong, complementary partners within the marketing ecosystem, each with proven track records of delivering innovative industry solutions. Liftoff’s best-in-class technology enables mobile app marketers to acquire and retain high value users at scale, by delivering more than two billion engaging ads each day across more than 550,000 mobile apps in over 140 countries through advanced machine learning, prediction intelligence and creative optimisation capabilities. Vungle operates one of the largest and most diverse mobile monetisation platforms, with over 100,000 direct SDK integrations across leading mobile app publishers and 15,000 individual content creators across its influencer marketing platform, in addition to a broad suite of capabilities across user acquisition, creative technologies, and content analytics that it leverages to deliver high performance for mobile developers.

Combining two scaled and highly compatible market leaders will create an end-to-end platform that improves the effectiveness of mobile advertising and provides greater scale and enhanced capabilities for mobile developers to build, advertise and monetise their apps. The merger will accelerate key growth initiatives for both companies and enable the combined company to continue to serve the industry with world-class solutions, fuelled by market-leading product and technical innovation.

“When we launched Liftoff nine years ago, it was our vision to offer leading solutions for mobile marketers, in a world where few independent and unbiased alternatives existed,” explained Mark Ellis. “In joining forces with Vungle, we offer not only the industry’s most complete and scaled platform, but also maintain our focus on serving our mobile customers without any conflicts or competing offerings. I look forward to this next phase of growth and innovation, together, as we create the mobile growth platform of the future.”

“When I think about delivering our mission and purpose, there is no better opportunity for Vungle than combining with Liftoff. This merger accelerates our vision to become the essential destination for all mobile developers, and the joining of two leaders as part of this industry-defining transaction will drive huge value for our partners,” said Jeremy Bondy. “Together, we can address the complete mobile app growth cycle – from app design and development to marketing, measurement, and monetisation.”

The transaction underscores Blackstone’s thematic focus on digital advertising technology and content, and follows other investments led by its flagship private equity funds in leading businesses including, Ancestry, Bumble, and Hello Sunshine. Blackstone will continue to actively support the combined company as the majority shareholder through this next phase of growth and innovation.

“The merger of Liftoff and Vungle brings together two extraordinary companies and paves the way to create the next generation of industry-leading solutions that will set the standard for mobile content growth,” said Sachin Bavishi, a Managing Director at Blackstone. “We have high conviction in the growth potential of the mobile app economy and are excited to partner with Mark, Jeremy, and the rest of the team to expand upon the combined company’s leadership position and further accelerate growth.”

Martin Brand, Head of North American Private Equity at Blackstone and Global Co-Head of Technology Investing, added, “This transaction highlights Blackstone’s focus on partnering with great management teams to accelerate the growth and scale of their companies. The combination will create a market leader that we believe will be one of the most valuable independent assets in the mobile marketing ecosystem.”

The transaction is expected to close at the end of September. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP served as legal counsels on the transaction.