Blackstone gets Liftoff

Darren Sinden

Spending on programmatic advertising in 2021 is forecast to reach $147.0 billion up from the $127.0 billion that is estimated to have been spent in 2020

One of the worlds largest investors has remained active over the holiday period.

Blackstone which oversees $548 billion of assets across private equity, hedge funds, real estate and credit and insurance markets has made an acquisition.

Blackstone’s private equity division has $98.0 billion under management and $38 billion of that on hand to invest in both established industries and growth sectors.

In recent times Blackstone PE participated in the acquisition of a significant stake in the Thomson Reuters finance and risk business, now known as Refinitv, which was itself acquired by the London Stock Exchange Group for $27.0 billion, a transaction that only received approval from EU competition authorities at the beginning of December.

Blackstone’s PE business currently has some 97 investments within its portfolio. The latest admission into the Blackstone stable will be digital marketing start-up Liftoff which was founded back in 2012.

The business is a specialist in mobile advertising, its systems and technology deliver around 1.0 billion adds per day spread across 90 countries and more than 500,000 digital publishing outlets.

Liftoffs USP is its use of machine learning and predictive AI techniques that help it to deliver scaled audiences of frequent app users to its customer base. Who are typically app developers and publishers including those in the on online gaming and e-commerce spaces, and those who have regularly recurring or subscription revenues.

Blackstone has previously invested in digital advertising and marketing spaces and Co-Head of U.S. Acquisitions for Blackstone’s Private Equity Group, Martin Brand, said that: “Liftoff is an independent leader in the marketplace for mobile ads. Blackstone has significant experience investing in the fast-growing mobile ecosystem, and we are excited to back Mark and his team as they continue the rapid growth of Liftoff.”

Additionally, Mark Ellis Ceo and Co-founder of Liftoff said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Blackstone, one of the premier private equity firms in the world” adding that “Blackstone’s expertise will be invaluable as we continue to scale our company globally, expand our product offerings and help more mobile marketers build a growing audience of engaged users for their mobile experiences.”

Blackstone will invest $400 million into Liftoff for a majority shareholding in the business which is based in Redwood City California and employs 290 staff.

Spending on programmatic advertising in 2021 is forecast to reach $147.0 billion up from the $127.0 billion that is estimated to have been spent in 2020 and 106.0 billion in 2019.

Automated digital advertising continues to take a significant and growing slice of global advertising revenues, which though diminished in 2020 are still forecast to run to around $569.0 billion for the year and grow once more in 2021.

Three weeks ago another business in the digital advertising space PubMatic (tickerPUBM) which allows publishers and app developers to sell space to advertisers across various media, including mobile apps and the mobile internet. IPO’d at $25.00 and its shares traded as high $33.16 on debut, the current market cap of PubMatic is $1.34 billion.

Whilst at the other end of the spectrum Tradedesk, one of the market leaders in online advertising is valued at $38.40 billion.

Whether Liftoff will remain permanently in the private markets under Blackstone’s umbrella or whether it will IPO’d in due course remains to be seen, and though this may have been the last deal in the space in 2020. Digital advertisers are likely to be hot properties in 2021 as well.

Read this next

Digital Assets

FINMA-regulated digital asset provider Taurus expands into Germany

This expansion follows recent moves by BaFin to accelerate the licensing of crypto custody services, aiming to boost market confidence. Following this, several new licenses were issued, notably to Commerzbank, making it the first full-service financial institution in Germany to receive a crypto custody license.

Inside View

Stocknet’s Nick Hall defends gamification as trading platform market set to hit $15.34b by 2030

“The growing popularity of gamified trading has the potential to tackle this financial literacy gap. Rather than simply giving users unfettered access to markets and letting them figure things out for themselves, platforms can offer virtual skill games and challenges to help educate traders and prime them for success.”

Inside View

Infographic: Interest rate and FX derivatives are driving rise of OTC derivatives market

These trends suggest a growing and evolving OTC derivatives market, with an increased focus on risk management and regulatory compliance. The rise in clearing rates, along with the increased initial margin requirements, reflects a more cautious approach to risk in the financial services industry.

Market News

Bank of Canada’s Final 2023 Policy Update on the Canadian Dollar and Future Monetary Landscape

The Bank of Canada’s final policy update for 2023, as reported by Bloomberg, had a relatively subdued impact on the performance of the Canadian dollar, especially when compared to the discernible market reactions following prior BoC policy decisions throughout the year.

Inside View

DTCC’s Systemic Risk Barometer Survey found 2024 US Presidential Election as a top risk

U.S. political uncertainty, particularly regarding the 2024 Presidential Election, has emerged as a key risk, with 51% of respondents highlighting it as a major concern. This reflects the potential impact of election outcomes on market conditions and the industry.

Executive Moves

Options Technology promotes Laura McCann to CFO

“Laura’s promotion to CFO is the next stage in our long-term strategy of building a world-class finance team servicing the global business from our Belfast office. Back in 2016, Jon took on the challenge of laying the groundwork for that vision. Laura has been an integral part of the strategy from day one.”

Digital Assets

Thailand’s crypto economy under the spotlight: a report by HashKey Capital

“I’m excited by the rapid expansion of Thailand’s Web3 sector. With over 3 million overall crypto users and 600% growth in the market in recent years, the dynamism in our DeFi and NFT sectors is clearly evident. Thailand is increasingly becoming a hotspot for digital nomads, drawn by our crypto-friendly policies, affordable living costs, vibrant food and beverage culture and diverse cultural landscape.”

Retail FX

Webull Australia offers 5.4% yield on uninvested cash

“US dollar money market funds are heavily regulated, meaning client funds are managed in a safe, reliable and trusted environment, which is of critical importance to us, and continues to remain top-of-mind for our clients.”

Digital Assets

Bybit welcomes Ethena’s USDe, a decentralized stablecoin utilizing delta-hedging staked Ether

“Our collaboration with Ethena Labs represents our commitment to solving some of the biggest challenges in crypto today, not least, the creation of a decentralized stablecoin. The integration of USDe on Bybit expands our stablecoin offerings, providing our users with an array of uncorrelated solutions accessible from our Unified Trading Account.”