Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel), South East Asia’s largest telecom services provider, is losing no time making inroads into the emerging mobile advertising market and Silicon Valley is its current hunting ground. Last week, Amobee, a California-based mobile ad startup that SingTel bought in March, announced the acquisition of AdJitsu, a startup that specializes in 3D advertising solutions for mobile phones. AdJitsu is also headquartered in California and represents SingTel’s second acquisition in Silicon Valley.
While the March acquisition of Amobee cost SingTel $321 million, the size of the AdJitsu acquisition has not been disclosed. AdJitsu’s platform will enable mobile users to tap on advertisements and engage with advertisers’ products with interactivity, speed and animation, said a press release issue on the deal. “With the advanced 3D technology, Amobee’s mobile ad campaigns feel like mini apps that mobile users look forward to receiving,” said Amobee CEO Trevor Healy, in the release.
Prior to the acquisition, AdJitsu operated as an independent division of California-based Cooliris, a digital content technology solutions company founded by Soujanya Bhumkar and Austin Shoemaker. The founders launched AdJitsu in 2011 as a six-member business unit. Cooliris is backed by venture capital investors Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, DAG Ventures, The Westly Group and Deutsche Telekom’s T-Venture.
For SingTel, the two Silicon Valley acquisitions are part of a long-term strategy to gain a stronger foothold in the global mobile advertising market. “The mobile advertising market is nascent and has significant potential for mobile operators who are able to provide differentiated solutions… We want to capture that growth in developed and emerging markets, starting with this (Amobee) acquisition,” Allen Lew, CEO of Group Digital Life, said at the time of the Amobee acquisition in March.
Group Digital Life is a new business division that came into effect from April 1 when SingTel reorganized itself into three divisions (the other two are Group Consumer and Group ICT) to better position itself as a multimedia player. The Group Digital Life division now includes Amobee, SingTel’s venture capital investment arm Singtel Innov8, NextGen TV and ecommerce, among other businesses.
The Amobee and AdJitsu buys are likely the beginning of a series of acquisitions that SingTel will undertake as it seeks growth in newer markets. The company, reports Bloomberg, may acquire businesses in China, India or in the US as it shifts focus from slower growth markets such as Singapore and Australia, quoting CEO Chua Sock Koong. The company reported a 30 per cent growth in net profits at S$1.29 billion for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2012. Revenues for the quarter were up 3 per cent to S$4.78 billion, while its mobile customer base stood at 445 million.
In India, SingTel was an early investor in mobile operator Bharti Airtel and currently holds a 32.3 per cent stake in the Delhi-based operator. It owns significant stakes in Indonesia’s PT Telekomunikasi Selular and Manila’s Globe Telecom, Warid Telecom in Pakistan, Pacific Banglasdesh Telecom and Thailand’s Advanced Info Service.
Image Courtesy: AdJitsu