In what is set to be the largest deal in its history, Twitter Inc. has agreed to acquire mobile-advertising exchange startup MoPub Inc., in a deal that adds real-time bidding to the microblogging service’s ad platform.
According to reports, Twitter paid about $350 million in stock for MoPub. The deal was disclosed in blog postings from both companies yesterday, and technology blog TechCrunch earlier reported the acquisition and price.
Twitter is bolstering its advertising options as it works toward a goal of $1 billion in revenue by 2014. Twitter is awaiting third-quarter financial results before deciding whether to file the IPO paperwork with regulators this year or next, the people have said.
MoPub, also based in San Francisco, has almost 100 employees worldwide, according to its post. The startup specializes in helping companies quickly match publishers with ads on mobile devices.
“We look at it as a big bet on the mobile ecosystem,” Kevin Weil, Twitter’s vice president of revenue product, said in an interview. “It’s growing incredibly quickly. We think mobile advertising is in the early stages, and Twitter and MoPub together give us the opportunity to help drive what mobile advertising becomes.”
As part of acquisition, about 100 employees of MoPub will join Twitter, while MoPub CEO Jim Payne will become vice president and will report to Twitter’s revenue head Adam Bain, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Twitter said it will continue to invest in MoPub’s traditional services that help place advertisements in applications on smartphones that include Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and those using Google Inc.’s Android software.
Twitter is widely expected to launch a mobile ad exchange, in which users arriving inside Twitter could be targeted based on their previous web or mobile usage history.