A Beijing-based marketing communications group has offered $148 million to acquire San Francisco-based Smaato, a real-time advertising platform for mobile publishers and app developers.

Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication Group's offer is subject to company and regulatory approvals.

1B Unique Visitors

In a statement, Spearhead officials explained the acquisition would open three key strategic areas, including worldwide expansion and access to more than 1 billion unique mobile users each month outside of China through Smaato’s global app developers and mobile publishers. 

Smaato will also boost Spearhead’s mobile advertising capabilities with its Smaato Publisher Platform (SPX), which provides an integrated marketing solution for the China market.

“This collaboration creates enormous new opportunities for both partners,” Smaato CEO and co-founder Ragnar Kruse said in a statement. “Spearhead brings to Smaato not only its expertise and a trusted partnership but opens up the Chinese market for us. Smaato allows Spearhead to expand very quickly outside of China. Together, we unlock potential for enormous growth and exciting possibilities that neither business could achieve alone.”

In a blog post, Kruse told Smaato customers this will give the company greater resources to develop the Smaato Publisher Platform and accelerate its technology roadmap. It also gives the company, he wrote, combined industry expertise to drive innovative mobile advertising and marketing solutions.

Mobile App Enhancements

In January 2015, Smaato launched SPX, an ad server for mobile publishers. It was designed to help publishers and developers monetize their apps and maximize their mobile advertising fill rates and the effective cost per thousand impressions (eCPMs).

Smaato operates a mobile real time bidding (RTB) ad exchange and Sell Side Platform across 80,000 mobile app developers and mobile publishers. It also globally connects more than ad networks and 240 demand-side platforms on the demand side.SPX, built for the supply side, is a "first step towards building integrated mobile monetization platform,” Ajitpal Pannu, Chief Business Officer at Smaato, told CMSWire at the time.

With more than a million apps on the market and new ones constantly arriving, the ad industry "needs a platform that thinks mobile first,” Pannu explained.

The pending acquisition announced today comes four months after Chinese mobile advertiser Mobvista’s $25 million acquisition of NativeX earlier this year. NativeX specializes in monetization and advertising through their native ad technology for mobile games and apps.