Mobile ad startup AppLovin in talks for $1.5 billion acquisition

Mobile ad startup AppLovin is in talks with a Chinese buyer for an acquisition of around $1.5 billion, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the company.

We have not confirmed the identity of the acquirer. The deal is not yet finalized and details may change.

Founded in 2012 by CEO Adam Foroughi along with Andrew Karam and John Kyrstynak, San Francisco-headquartered AppLovin operates a mobile ad network that helps advertisers target people who are similar to their existing user base and deliver personalized ads.

The business is profitable and said last year that it had reached an annualized revenue run rate of $200 million, double the revenue it was seeing in 2014. We also hear that the company is projecting $500 million in ad spend on the platform this year.

It’s been an acquisition heavy period in ad tech — within the Chinese market specifically, Cheetah Mobile bought MobPartner (it’s been making other media-related acquisitions as well). Southeast Asian telecom company SingTel has also made a number of mobile ad acquisitions through its Amobee division.

AppLovin’s financial position makes it a more desirable acquisition target, and it could also help a Chinese buyer move into the United states. (The company has also expanded into Europe.) Unlike many other Silicon Valley startups, AppLovin didn’t seek venture funding and only raised about $4 million from angel investors.

We’ve reached out to AppLovin for comment.

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